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Inclusive Growth Decision-making Tool


This Toolkit is a product of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Inclusive Growth Unit - a part of its public service reform team dedicated to building the evidence base, capability and enabling resources to support a more inclusive model of economic growth in the region.

Inclusive growth stands for a more deliberate and socially purposeful model of economic growth – measured not only by how fast or aggressive it is; but also by how well it is shared across the whole population and place.

Inclusive growth in the West Midlands today is about all of our residents being able to touch, taste and feel the benefits of rising prosperity within the region. The region is on the rise again – but we know it will take a proactive, targeted approach to ensure that those communities left behind can play a full part.

The WMCA Board has been very clear in its support for this approach. But whilst the case for inclusive growth may be overwhelming, it can be a struggle to know where to start. Established logic is hard to shift, and there is no single blueprint that can work across a diverse region with different priorities across its towns and cities.

This is why we have developed the IG Toolkit. It is designed to help practitioners understand what inclusive growth means within particular contexts, projects and places. Used consistently, it will expose a number of questions - about who benefits, how, and with what potential results - that are the basis for shaping a different way of making decisions in relation to economic growth, regeneration and change.

It will help local partners to ask:
  • What does inclusive growth look like in my project or place, and how will we know when it is happening?

  • What levers do we have to do things differently, and where are the points at which different decisions could be made?

  • How do we develop an evidence base for action that will be robust enough to challenge the status quo in areas where existing practice is deeply embedded?

This toolkit is part of a suite of resources being developed for the region, which includes underlying metrics, analytical tools and citizen insights. These have been produced following a period of engagement with our partners across the region (including WMCA member authorities, public services, business, citizens and civil society) and respond to a call for:

  • An approach to inclusive growth that is practical and applied - giving local places, partners and project teams the means to shape what the concept means to them. Building bottom-up practice rather than top- down theory.

  • An approach that has credibility with communities and civil society - first asking them what inclusive growth should look like, and supporting public sector practice to evolve in line with these insights.

  • An approach that reflects the true nature of the Combined Authority and its work - supporting collaborative practice and providing the resources and insights to build strong local partnerships that can add value within the region.

The toolkit is for policymakers, practitioners and analysts to use within real-world scenarios. It will help users to make the concept of inclusive growth specific and real – and will make considerations about social purpose and social impact more explicit within decision making processes. It will not change the game overnight, but offers us an opportunity to be deliberate about the things we choose to care about, and the extent to which our social and economic aspirations our places – and the region as a whole – are made real.