Transformational Routemapping for Urban Environments (TRUE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Geography

Abstract

UK Cities face wide-ranging challenges including: inequality, crime, housing shortages, infrastructure congestion, carbon dependency, environmental degradation, and low skills. Local governments are working to address these against a background of prolonged financial austerity, electoral disengagement, misalignments in priorities between central and other tiers of government, rigid funding cycles, organisational silos and low levels of information, all of which contribute to sub-optimal decisions that can intensify persistent problems and degrade public confidence. Given this context, this project is committed to transformation based on enhancing capacity to better manage urban complexity in ways that promote co-production and collaborative working practices, civic enterprise, retain local value and develop new types of institutions.

This project mobilises a multi-sector consortium called TRUE (Transformational Routemapping for Urban Environments) to collaboratively diagnose interrelated urban challenges. TRUE represents meaningful commitment from the university, public, private and civil society sectors to collaborative working in Leeds. TRUE recognises that a step-change is required in the ways that current urban systems are arranged, and that producing this change entails first understanding the integrated nature of the complexities in current and future urban living systems and the factors (including capacity/capability) that anchor the effective delivery of city-wide solutions. Once this understanding is gained, it is then necessary to establish the capabilities required to deliver them. Finally, steps can be taken to achieve effective outcomes. Key to this is the ability to align stakeholder capability to the complexity of the undertaking at city scales. Failure to do so can result in cost and time overruns, political damage, undelivered objectives and outcomes and other unintended consequences.

The aim of TRUE is to adopt a socio-technical systems approach to diagnosing complexity and aligning capability embodied in a tested approach called Project Initiation Routemap (Routemap). By drawing on Routemap and adapting it, TRUE is positioned to rethink how local authorities deliver integrated city-wide solutions. The Routemap brings together learning from the public and private sector ranging from Crossrail to NHS England into a framework that allows users to better align complexity with the capabilities required to manage a complex environments, thus increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes. By first applying and then radically adapting the Routemap, TRUE creates a diagnostic cycle in which transferrable guidance can be developed in a collaborative manner. TRUE has joined up with Routemap consultants to ensure that urban pilot developments will incorporate the full learning of the existing Routemap portfolio and have traction at a national government level.

For this urban pilot, TRUE will apply this approach to a selection of priority outcome areas (called Breakthrough Projects) identified by Leeds City Council (LCC). Each of these Breakthrough Projects encompasses a multitude of interrelated challenges and these projects will be used to collaboratively develop TRUE as a novel, highly applicable and transferable holistic diagnostic tool. This tool will have direct potential benefits in terms of assessing systemic complexity and integrated challenges to enhance capacity amongst city actors to support the delivery of citywide solutions that can meet future challenges. It will be presented through an open license digital platform and training guidance delivered by quality assured TRUE partners available to city officials across the UK and internationally. TRUE will be launched at a major city based Launch conference. Through these, TRUE will be uniquely placed to enhance capacity of city teams to support the delivery of integrated city-wide solutions that meet identified objectives.

Planned Impact

This project will provide direct impact to the following beneficiaries.

First, there are benefits to public bodies and especially Leeds City Council. The specific potential impacts within the duration of the project relates to providing the 99 elected representatives and over 50 senior officers from Leeds City Council, especially the leadership team in the Chief Executive Office, with an enhanced capacity to respond to urban challenges, manage complexity and ultimately successfully deliver outcomes they have identified. New guidances and insights from TRUE will also provide positive impacts for other private, voluntary and statutory entities involved in co-delivering services and goods with Leeds City Council through aligning priorities and reducing cost overruns. In the longer term, there will be additional external national and international reputational benefits from Leeds being able to demonstrate and share with other bodies (city regions, the Northern Powerhouse, city region, Infrastructure UK) its effective understandings and routes for supporting the delivery of effective city-wide solutions, as well as attracting resources and developing and retaining capabilities and skills in the city.

Second, the overall potential impact that TRUE represents relates to increasing capacity for partnership working that can yield tangible benefits to the quality of life of Leeds residents. During the timescale of Leeds' Best Council Plan (up to 2020), there will be direct benefits to Leeds' 750,000 residents as a result of Leeds City Council being able to effectively understand and manage the challenges underpinning its breakthrough projects and its objectives. As examples, the potential impacts of TRUE for the public could include codeveloping guidance and techniques for enhanced community engagement and citizen involvement, direct reductions in poverty against established benchmarks such as the IMD, domestic violence and health inequalities, becoming a more cost-effective and local authority, and creating a city centre that attracts under-represented groups, underpinned by coherent and usable smart technologies. In particular, the use of detailed ethnography with a pool of community activists will create additional impacts in creating a more informed cohort of residents who can collectively help articulate the challenges the city faces, and shape how complexity is managed.

Third, there will be direct benefits for up to 50 civil society, community and voluntary groups. Anticipated impacts during this pilot include embedding working relationships and communication between civil society groups and the business and statutory sectors, opening up possibilities for new ways of working and service delivery based on coproduction and civic enterprise measured through the generation of new sources of income and employment, and, in the longer term, raising the profile of Leeds' third sector organisations, both in the city and nationally.

Fourth, this project will provide medium-term direct benefit to 20 private sector firms and specifically SMEs, in terms of opportunities for developing products and services that can align with addressing the city's priorities and also generate new forms of income. This in turn can increase the number of civic entrepreneurs and retain local value and employment in the city economy. This has the potential longer term impact of increasing the city's Gross Value Added and employment levels which in turn will help to contribute to and rebalance the UK economy.

Finally, after this pilot project, selected TRUE partners will benefit from accessing potential new income streams and competencies through the delivery (under license) of TRUE training with an initial 2 year target of 20 beneficiaries. Protocols for the disbursement of profits from delivering this training will be outlined in the consortium agreement.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We set out to assess how complexity and a lack of capacity contribute to urban policy failures, and how the multi-stakeholder teams can better manage complexity to deliver improved city solutions. We began with a proven process, The Routemap, which has helped ensure infrastructure project success. Through a wide collaboration across academics, local government, third sector and private organisations, we developed the TRUE prototype, an online tool with three stages: assessment, diagnosis, and planning. The tool uses a set of questions to assess the complexity of the situation and the capability and capacity of the team to address the complexity. It then diagnoses gaps requiring attention and provides resources to help bridge those gaps, resulting in a project and team-specific list of improvement areas. Planning tools then assist the team in identifying actions and potential solutions, from which they develop enhancement and action plans. These plans can then be used to ensure the team progresses through the project with improved effectiveness and greater likelihood of success.
Exploitation Route The aim is to develop the TRUE prototype tool into a workable service that can be used by local authorities and other multi-stakeholder city wide teams.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://truetool.org
 
Description The findings are currently being used by Leeds city Council in the formation and delivery of their breakthrough projects.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Title TRUE tool 
Description The TRUE prototype is an online tool with three stages: assessment, diagnosis, and planning. The tool uses a set of questions to assess the complexity of the situation and the capability and capacity of the team to address the complexity. It then diagnoses gaps requiring attention and provides resources to help bridge those gaps, resulting in a project and team-specific list of improvement areas. Planning tools then assist the team in identifying actions and potential solutions, from which they develop enhancement and action plans. These plans can then be used to ensure the team progresses through the project with improved effectiveness and greater likelihood of success. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Further testing has been requested by Leeds City Council to demonstarte future potentiual impact. 
URL http://truetool.org
 
Description ODI Leeds 
Organisation Open Data Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Developing insights into urban complexity
Collaborator Contribution ODI led to development of the TRUE online digitla tool
Impact development of digital TRUE tool
Start Year 2016