Darlington Borough Council commissioned the Ortus team (whilst working at TBR), in collaboration with Urbis Regeneration, to provide support in developing a refresh of the Darlington Economic Strategy. The strategy was to be based on the competitive advantages of Darlington’s economic geography and our role was to identify and evidence the nature of these advantages and ways in which the strategy might build on them. we supported the Council team through both evidence gathering and advice and guidance in order to generate recommendations for strategic intervention in the areas of land and premises; skills and labour; capital investment; innovation; and promotion. In particular our brief required us to:
- Provide independent, robust, evidenced analysis of the regional, national and global economic future, that is capable of withstanding challenge
- Provide realistic, yet challenging advice on how the business sectors already active in the Borough can be best prepared to take advantage of these futures.
- Provide realistic, yet challenging advice on whether other business sectors not already active in the Borough should be targeted.
- Provide a response to the emerging findings from the other investigative work, especially the enquiry groups acting as a “critical friend” (by email and at monthly meetings), suggesting alternative relevant lines of enquiry where appropriate.
- Provide evidenced analysis into why businesses do or do not locate within the Borough and advise on what actions should be taken in response
- Lead a discussion involving all those involved at a conference event.
- Provide a critique of the draft Economic Strategy.
Our final outputs were utilised by the Council as key inputs into the refreshed strategy.