Northern Economic Summit

  • Thursday, 02 December 2021
  • The Studio, Manchester
  • 09:15 - 16:45
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

All Open Forum Events staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19. We are committed to running in-person events as we recognise the importance of bringing ideas and people together. Our conferences will be delivered by responsible staff who have worked diligently to ensure your conference experience is safe, seamless and above all else – enjoyable.

The government has made 'levelling-up' opportunities and economic performance across the UK a flagship policy of its forward programme. The pandemic response has eaten-into vast sums of state spending, but the political will still exists to implement the levelling-up agenda. Outcomes in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber will determine the success of this programme and be driven by investment in new skills, improved connectivity and health.

Summit delegates will take away the following benefits of attending:

  • 10 CPD Points.
  • Engage with programmes equipping people with new skills and providing apprenticeships in sectors that will drive regional economic growth as well as attracting and sustaining innovative R&D programmes - forging the North's place in the global knowledge economy and building on its revolutionary industrial heritage.
  • Develop strategies for your organisation that maximise productivity and contribute to sustained improvements to public health.
  • Learn about leveraging the North's attractiveness as a foreign direct investment destination. In 2020 the North West became the UK's third largest FDI location with a 16% increase in projects secured - led by the digital technology sector. Delegates will engage with the people and initiatives spearheading the North's climb up the FDI rankings.
  • Explore comprehensive, data-driven models for identifying where prosperity levels in the UK rise-and-fall, as well as frameworks for measuring the relative performance of local authorities and civic institutions; supporting strategic decision making on where 'levelling-up' could be concentrated to meet targets of closing economic, health and opportunity inequalities.
  • Learn from case studies drawn from global best-practice(s) exhibiting the benefits of new technological disruptions like cryptocurrencies, blockchain and algorithms; how might they be better leveraged at the regional level - with a focus on the northern economy.
  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Keynote Address

  • Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership (confirmed)

Henri Murison was appointed as the first permanent Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership - established by business and civic leaders across the North to drive the economy, Chaired by former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Henri has held senior public policy roles in both the public and private sector(s) across the North of England, serving as Cabinet member for Quality of Life at Newcastle City Council; leading on key issues including transport, planning and the environment. Henri has also worked as Research Director at the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and lead on Public Affairs at the Yorkshire Building Society.

  • Gavin Brown, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Financial Technology, University of Liverpool (confirmed)
  • Dr Richard Whittle, CAPE Policy Fellow, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London (confirmed)
"FinTech, Blockchain and Cryptoassets - A Northern Focus"

Beyond the hype of blockchain what are the benefits that decentralised finance can bring to the Northern economy? Professor Gavin Brown and Dr Richard Whittle, co-authors of Algorithms, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency: Implications for the Future of the Workplace will critically explore case studies drawn from global best-practice that will exhibit the potential of this technological disruption and how this may be better leveraged at both the regional and national levels.


Gavin Brown is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Financial Technology at the University of Liverpool. He has provided talks, advice and media commentary on cryptocurrencies and tokenomics to The House of Lords, H.M. Treasury, H.M.R.C., The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, The Bank of England, BBC radio & live television, The Telegraph Newspaper, Forbes Magazine, The Financial Times, private banks, wealth management offices, conferences and HE institutions. Dr Richard Whittle has taught economics at all levels as well as on various professional and industry qualifications, including CIMA, for the Bank of New York and for the Civil Service. Following a research career in industry where his consultancy reports were used to develop firms' strategy in negotiating with local government throughout the UK, Dr Whittle was awarded one of only two Economic and Social Research Council studentships to read for a Master's of Research and has recently completed his PhD in Economics and Econometrics at the University of Keele.


Headline Supporter

Senior Representative from BAE Systems (confirmed)


Question & Answer Session

Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership (confirmed)

Gavin Brown, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Financial Technology, University of Liverpool (confirmed)

Dr Richard Whittle, CAPE Policy Fellow, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London (confirmed)

Senior Representative from BAE Systems (confirmed)


Coffee in the Networking Area

"The BBC Across the UK"

By 2027/28 the BBC will be spending at least an extra £700m cumulatively across the UK - generating an additional economic benefit of over £850m. The BBC Across the UK initiative is part of the biggest programme of reform to BBC services and operations in decades; recreating the BBC as a genuinely UK-wide organisation with a much stronger presence across the length and breadth of the country. This shift will move the creative and journalistic centre of the BBC away from London to a much more distributed model that moves not just people - but power, representation and decision-making to the UK’s Nations and regions.


This presentation will set-out the detail of the BBC Across the UK blueprint, including:

  • A transformation in the way BBC commissions TV programming: a clear majority of the BBC's UK-wide television programming (60% of network TV commissions by spend) will be made across the UK - not in London.
  • Big investment in BBC local reporting: a network of community journalists will enhance the BBC's regional news provision, introducing a tailored BBC One across Yorkshire, North West & North East England.
  • The BBC will move significant parts of BBC News to centres across the UK and its biggest news strands will be presented from across the country: the Today programme will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes per-year, Radio 4’s PM will be presented regularly from different locations around the UK including BBC local radio stations; Newsbeat on Radio 1 and the Asian Network news teams will move permanently to be
    presented from Birmingham - Newsnight will be presented from different bases, including Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester throughout the year, to represent the range of issues across the UK better.
  • BBC business output will be more reflective of the UK, with all its key morning output coming from an enlarged business unit in Salford and 50% of network radio/music spend will be outside London by 2027/28.

Case Study

SCAPE is the UK’s leading public sector procurement authority, dedicated to creating spaces, places and experiences that leave a sustainable legacy within the community. Since 2006, SCAPE has accelerated over 12,000 projects across the UK with their direct award frameworks, property services and innovative architectural designs.

Working with SCAPE is all about partnership, bringing together the brightest talent from the construction industry and the local economy. SCAPE projects are collaborative, compliant and fully performance managed to ensure delivery efficiency, tax payer value, targeted local economic enrichment and offer a direct response to the climate emergency.

SCAPE operates with a buying power of £13bn and is actively performance managing over 1,800 live projects. SCAPE is a member of the National Association of Construction Frameworks (NACF) and in 2020, was name in ‘The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to work for’ in the UK.

  • Sarah Davies, Director of Corporate Services, Lancaster City Council (confirmed)

Presentation synopsis coming soon...


Questions & Answer Session

  • Rozina Breen, Head of North, BBC England (confirmed)
  • Sarah Davies, Director of Corporate Services, Lancaster City Council (confirmed)
  • Mark Robinson, Chief Executive, SCAPE (confirmed)


We'll be working with venues to ensure lunch at our events is as delicious as ever and caters for a range of dietary preferences - whilst being served in a safe and seamless manner. Some of the new measures we will be introducing to this effect are:

  • One-way queuing systems with safe distancing in operation.
  • Individual snacking bags containing fruit, trail mix and sweets provided on arrival - this will prevent people mixing around snack bars during networking breaks.
  • Individually portioned dishes and pre-sealed cutlery will be served at collection points.  

Where possible, we will request food is sourced locally to reduce food miles, use seasonal vegetables, red tractor certified meat and eggs from free range hens.


Chair's Afternoon Address


Afternoon Keynote

"The UK Prosperity Index"

'Levelling-up' requires a coherent and long-term strategy and also one that can track progress at the local level over time. The Legatum Institute has launched the UK Prosperity Index - the most comprehensive data-driven assessment of prosperity across the country, which should help identify the local ingredients that are required to cultivate prosperity.


The UK Prosperity Index aims to develop a comprehensive picture of prosperity across the UK and at the local authority, regional, and national levels. Rather than look only at the economy and infrastructure, the UK Prosperity Index will span 12 pillars grouped into three domains, and draw on an unprecedented amount of data from more than 50 datasets. The domains are inclusive societies, open economies and empowered People.

"Joined-up Policy: Health & Economic Policy Working Together"

The pandemic response has uber-accelerated the bonding of health and economic policy. If this trend strengthens and continues, can it be used to reduce economic opportunity and health inequalities - in this instance, with a focus on issues in the North.

Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE holds the cabinet portfolio for health and social care at Oldham Council and Jonathan Walker is the Policy Director of the North East Chamber of Commerce. This co-presentation will explore joined-up economic and health policies that address pan-regional inequalities. 

  • Rhys Whalley, Executive Director, Manchester - China Forum (confirmed)
"Connecting the Northern Powerhouse"

Greater Manchester and the broader Northern region have seen a surge in inward investment, Chinese tourists, students and an increase in academic collaboration; some of the recent success can be attributed to Phase 1 of the Manchester China Forum's strategy.


At the previous Northern Economic Summit, Minister Ma Hui from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK spoke on how parallels between the Northern Powerhouse and China's Belt and Road initiative have facilitated unprecedented inward investment from China into northern England, rapid growth of collaboration in the development of artificial intelligence and graphene; as well as improved commerce. Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of the Manchester China Forum will explore opportunities for the region in Phase 2 of the MCF strategy, including further direct connectivity with the far East and focus on key sectors to GM's growth; infrastructure and regeneration, advanced manufacturing, visitor economy and football. 


Rhys Whalley is the Executive Director of the Manchester China Forum. From his previous position as the Head of Business Development and China Desk at the International property-firm Jones Lang LaSalle in Beijing, and former Business Manager for the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China; Rhys has brought a wealth of experience to lead the Forum in realising these objectives.


Question & Answer Session


Afternoon Refreshment Break


Big Issue North started in December 1992 as a Manchester supplement within the London-based Big Issue. From there, Big Issue North grew as an independent publication distributed in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. To expand the range of services that it offered to vendors, the Big Issue North Trust was established in 1996.


A large fundraising campaign, plus National Lottery money and a regeneration grant from English Partnerships, meant they were able to move into an office in Manchester in 1998, with offices in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull to follow, along with sub-offices in Preston and Kendal.


Big Issue North is also one of 112 street paper projects in 34 countries, which are supported by INSP (International Network of Street Papers). INSP supports the development and sustainability of its members, and adds value to their work so that thousands of homeless or vulnerably housed vendors – more than 250,000 so far – can earn a living and improve their lives. INSP does this by providing a range of services and projects, including the annual Global Street Paper Summit and the INSP News Service.


Presentation synopsis coming soon...


Case Study

This slot is reserved for organisations looking to engage delegates with services and opportunities that compliment conference presentation and discussion panel topics. If you're interested in delivering a Case Study, contact us on 0161 376 9007.

"Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Plan"

SELRAP is the community campaign group working to extend the Airedale line (running from Leeds and terminating at Skipton) from Skipton to Colne, allowing the local population in East Lancashire to travel straight into the economic heart of the region, Leeds - providing significant local economic opportunities, including:

  • Joining-up big - but isolated, East Lancashire towns with economic centres; the main benefit of this new passenger train service will be to bring all of Pendle and Burnley (a conurbation comprising a total population of approximately 200,000 people) within less than an hour’s travelling time of both central Leeds and Bradford. Opening up new job opportunities, providing further transport connections to the rest of the UK from Leeds and stimulating further development throughout East Lancashire.
  • Create a fourth East-West trans-Pennine freight rail route, providing a vital new artery for goods to travel quickly and effectively across the North.
  • East Lancashire has the highest proportion of its population employed in the manufacturing industry for any UK region. It is hoped that by linking this currently isolated region directly into the major transport hub at Leeds and therefore into the entire national rail network, that this improved transport connectivity will encourage more inward economic investment in advanced manufacturing. It is expected that the project will encourage large manufacturing and aerospace employers, many of whom already have a strong presence in this area, to invest in this region.
  • The line extension will open up a number of opportunities for young people to travel for education, especially by connecting the further educational colleges of Lancashire with the major universities and colleges of Leeds and Bradford. Students are major users of train services and it is anticipated that numerous opportunities will be opened up for travel between their homes and FE/HEIs.

Closing Panel Debate: Skills, Employment and the Future

SELRAP (Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) Representative (confirmed)

Deborah Madden, Engagement Director, Construction Industry Training Board (confirmed)

Speaker TBA

Speaker TBA


Chair's Closing Remarks and Summit Close

  • Register for event

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Jonathan Smith
  • Gain CPD Points.
  • Meet the people and partnerships behind the North's growing attractiveness as a foreign direct investment destination. The North West has become the UK's third largest recipient of foreign direct investment, increasing FDI projects in the region by 16% despite the pandemic; learn how your organisation can attract FDI in the North from some of the world's most active investors in places like East Asia - particularly in the digital, business services and manufacturing sectors. 
  • Engage with programmes equipping people with new skills and providing apprenticeships in sectors that will drive regional economic growth like digital technologies, aerospace and decarbonisation.
  • Develop strategies for your organisation that maximise productivity and contribute to sustained improvements to public health as part of efforts to support economic recovery. 
  • Explore comprehensive, data-driven models for identifying where spending and interventions could be concentrated to meet targets of closing economic, health and opportunity inequalities as part of the government's forward programme. Learn about frameworks that allow for relative comparisons of local authorities across a wide range of indicators - enabling policymakers and citizens to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their area, informing the strategic choices that need to be made to drive greater levels of prosperity across the UK.
  • Learn more about how the disruptive ABCs - algorithms, blockchain and cryptocurrencies
  • are fundamentally disrupting the future of work, profit and power; develop strategies to leverage them in your favour. 
  • See what's in store for the future of high streets in the North.
  • Contact Details
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details




The Studio, Manchester

The Studio, Manchester

Situated in the heart of Manchester's iconic Northern Quarter and just a couple of minutes walk away from the city's major transport links; The Studio is a spacious, contemporary meeting centre atop The Hive building on Lever St.     

Whatever the legendary Manchester weather has to throw at you, you’ll always find the warmest of welcomes at The Studio.

Featured Events

  • The Northern Economic Summit

    • 15 November 2018
    • 09:25 - 17:00
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Downloads & Resources

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who will attend

  • Assistant Director Business
  • Assistant Director's Regeneration
  • Associate Director's
  • Business Development Directors
  • Business Engagement Managers
  • Business Partnerships Managers
  • Cabinet Members
  • CEO's/Founders
  • Chief Economists
  • Chief Executives
  • Chief Financial Directors
  • Commercial Managers
  • Commercial Services Specialists
  • Deputy Directors of Development and Regeneration
  • Directors
  • Directors - Regeneration & Strategy
  • Directors England and Cities
  • Directors Industrial Strategy
  • Directors of Business and Enterprise
  • Directors of Research, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Directors Of Strategic Transformation
  • Directors Strategic Relationship's
  • Economic Analysts
  • Economic Development Funding Managers
  • Economics Associates
  • Executive Directors
  • General Secretaries
  • Growth Generators
  • Head of Infrastructure
  • Head's of Business Engagement
  • Head's of Communications
  • Head's of External Engagement and Capability
  • Head's of IP & Commercialisation
  • Head's of School: Teacher Development
  • International Trade Advisers
  • Investors
  • Inward Investment Officers
  • Knowledge Exchange Support Officers
  • Lecturers
  • Managing Directors
  • Mayors
  • Members of Parliament
  • Ministers
  • Operations Managers
  • Policy Managers
  • Programme Managers
  • Rail freight logistics experts
  • Regional Directors
  • Regional Press
  • Research Partnership Managers
  • Senior Communications Officers
  • Senior Corporate Engagement Officers
  • Senior Lecturers
  • SMEs
  • Social Inclusion Directors
  • Transport Developers