“I worked closely with Emma Buckman and Rebekah Southern between May and October 2019 as part of the Steering Group for the Heart of the South West Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). Buckman Associates were brought to lead the drafting of the LIS at a critical moment where the many good ideas, clear vision and evidence-base needed to be pulled together into a single document with a clear logic chain, strategic line of sight and shared objectives. The latter was perhaps the most challenging in a region such as the Heart of the SW which, although with one LEP, has 16 local authorities (of which 4 top tier); a population of over 1.8m; a diverse business/sector base and a desire to prioritise both growth and inclusion. And added to this, the objectives and the commitments (actions) needed to be agreed and shared with government in the spirit of co-design.

 I had heard about Buckman Associates by reputation and they didn’t disappoint. Emma and Rebekah demonstrated remarkable emotional intelligence working with partners and a thorough understanding of the complex brief. Their ability to navigate subtleties in political imperatives, aligned to their core skills in economic research and strategy development, ensured that the Heart of the South West LEP were able to present a LIS co-designed with government that is widely considered to be an excellent piece of work and, more importantly, an excellent route-map for the economic development of the region.

 One final point – Emma and Rebekah needed patience, pragmatism and humour in spades to stay sane in managing the multiple and sometimes conflicting viewpoints and ensure an optimal outcome!”