At the University of Warwick today taking part in a conference. As a former student here I always feel a touch of nostalgia when I'm down here, but this is not a trip down memory lane. For many years Manchester belonged to a local government research consortium based here which produced much practice based research to help us get the right answers to the problems we faced as a council.
Sadly, as a result of changing times and changing budgets the consortium is no more but local government still needs evidence to inform it's decision making and evidence about the effectiveness of the decisions it is implementing. That is, there is still a need to access either research that has already been done or to commission new work and that is what the conference is about. It brings together people from academia and from local government to discuss how, in the future, local government can obtain in a timely fashion the evidence it needs for good decision making and assessment of what it is doing.
There will be time for a little bit of nostalgia though and when the conference finishes I will be visiting friends, one who was a student here at the same time, one who I worked with many years ago when I was a teacher in Coventry. Then tomorrow it's London, it's Lord's, it's the test match. My first ever visit to Lord's and I'm really looking forward to it.