9 June, 2023
10:15 am - 4:20 pm

Reimagining the local state conference

In 2022, Reform launched a major new research agenda: ‘Reimagining the State’. In the aftermath of Brexit and Covid, and with looming national and international challenges to our economy and public services, the time has come to urgently rethink the shape, role, and approach of the state – and to recast its relationship with citizens.

Many localities are already exploring fascinating new approaches:  innovative, collaborative, and co-productive with communities. Public services are being revolutionised by new projects that bridge private, community, and state sectors. Local government is working with civil society organisations and community businesses to mobilise neighbourhoods. In some places, the local social contract itself is being reinvented.

These are ideas and approaches that can transcend politics, at any scale. Local innovators can offer lessons – even models – for a wider system that is starved of fresh ideas. National politicians and policy thinkers have taken note, with the Government seeking to ‘level up’, and the opposition promising a ‘take back control’ bill – which means that these shared ideas will become the core of a crucial policy debate in the next general election.

Reform is delighted to be hosting Reimagining the Local State, a one-day conference exploring the challenges faced by local communities, identifying the inventive solutions that have already begun to emerge, and discussing the radical policies which could help to promote the emergence of a wholly new approach to government and self-governance.

Reimagining the local state brochure

Key note address:

Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 


In conversation with:

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester Combined Authority


Panel one:

Reimagining devolution: stronger communities at every scale

  • Deborah Cadman OBE, Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council
  • Cllr Bev Craig, Leader, Manchester City Council
  • Ailbhe McNabola, Director, Policy & Communications, Power to Change
  • Jen Williams, Northern England Correspondent, Financial Times


This panel is kindly supported by:


Panel two:

Reimagining the local social contract: from users to citizens

  • Alison McKenzie-Folan, Chief Executive, Wigan Council
  • Jo Gideon MP, Stoke-on-Trent Central
  • Jason Stockwood, Co-Founder, Our Future & Chair, Grimsby Town Football Club
  • Rich Wilson, CEO, Iswe & Founder, Involve

This panel is kindly supported by:


If you are interested in attending please email events@reform.uk.