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Place leaders needed to shape local plans for £400m Shared Prosperity Fund

Last week government announced full details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which makes available £400m in it’s first year (2022-23) for local activity including boosting jobs and living standards, improving public services, building local pride in place, and empowering leaders and communities.

The Fund will be assigned to local authorities at different levels (see delivery geographies), with a range of combined and unitary authorities and district councils receiving allocations to 2025 totalling from £1m to £145m (Greater London Authority).

Crucially, up to 90% of the Fund allocation is for revenue spending and can be used to deliver the types of support and placemaking activity which hasn’t been eligible for funding under previous high street related schemes such as the Future High Streets Fund, Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund.

Lead local authorities, as nominated in the recently published guidance, are asked to compile an investment plan to set out how they intend to use the funding, to be submitted by 1st August 2022.

Scope of the fund and call for local partnership

The Fund can be used on any activity that can be shown to contribute to four key themes outlined in the Fund guidance (see below). Government emphasises the ‘essential need’ for places to identify and address local needs and opportunities, and also to form ‘comprehensive and balanced local partnerships’ to shape and deliver the funding.

The Institute of Place Management has reviewed the funding guidelines in detail and considers that its success relies on empowering local leadership to effectively identify and serve the needs of their places. As Professor Cathy Parker points out, money alone cannot empower place leaders:

“Excellent local leadership, in the context of place and levelling up needs to be defined and communicated - with the associated skills, behaviours, and values embedded in job descriptions and person specifications. This is the only way to ensure that funding is targeted at the most impactful interventions for a place, and not those initiatives pulled ‘off-the-shelf’ to make sure that funding is claimed.”

“Local place leaders and managers need to work to a code of conduct that serves the needs of the place. Partnerships need more than guidance in terms of their representation - this needs mandating in some way. These partnerships also need place management capacity and expertise to facilitate and support them.”

Members of the Institute of Place Management, who work to such a code of conduct, are uniquely placed to influence and shape local investment cases and partnerships. This includes local authority staff, local organisations like BIDs, and community groups.

Four investment themes

The Shared Prosperity Fund sets out four objectives, drawn from the Levelling Up White Paper published in February 2022, that any investment case should address. Further details on monitoring of these outcomes will be published in the Summer.

  • Boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging
  • Spread opportunities and improve public services, especially in those places where they are weakest

  • Restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging, especially in those places where they have been lost

  • Empower local leaders and communities, especially in those places lacking local agency

These objectives bring into scope a whole range of placemaking that the Institute has found, through its work delivering the High Streets Task Force, is needed to activate towns and cities now. From business support to markets, non-retail attractions to place branding and marketing, the Fund has the potential to bring real impact in areas that have, or can create, meaningful partnerships.

For more details on what the funding can be used for, see the SPF prospectus.



Are you involved in local work to produce an investment plan for the Shared Prosperity Fund? Or, do you have views on how this Fund can best be used in your area or nationally?

We’d like to hear your views.

Get in touch with the Institute with you views and questions on the Fund.


About the author


Formed in 2006, the Institute of Place Management is the international professional body that supports people committed to developing, managing and making places better.

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