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By Dougal Paver

By Dougal Paver

New Director of Place for Liverpool knows it’s a balancing act

Longstanding Downtown member Dougal Paver of PR and public affairs advisors Merrion Strategy reviews our recent dinner with one the Liverpool Combined Authority’s new senior hires.

Words: Dougal Paver, Merrion Strategy

Richard McGuckin is under no illusions about the careful balancing act he faces as the Liverpool Combined Authority’s new director of place.

Richard was speaking at a members’ dinner hosted by Downtown at the city’s Hope Street Hotel. In response to lively questioning from the floor he acknowledged that ensuring public procurement balanced using the best local providers with the competitive stimulus of leading national or global companies was a tricky one.

On the one hand, there was a view that previous public procurement policy in the city region actively precluded local suppliers whilst, on the other, a view that we should avoid being ‘parochial’ and bring the very best to the region to advise on key programmes such as the proposed Mersey tidal energy project.

Richard’s background has seen him providing strategic guidance across an extraordinarily broad range of public policy and delivery themes, from transport, planning, housing, highways and economic development over 20-plus years on his home turf of Teesside.  It struck me, therefore, that he’s well-placed to juggle the competing claims expressed on the floor. 

And, as a chartered civil engineer, he has the technical grasp and project management capabilities to enable him to provide the considered view of risk, cost and deliverability that his political master, Mayor Steve Rotherham, will need as he seeks to fulfil his ambitious agenda.

Straightforward and eminently approachable, Richard says he’s been amazed by what he has found in the city region and by the evident potential for further growth.  Ensuring that as many local people as possible benefit from that as the Combined Authority’s policy agenda rolls forward will be key to embedding prosperity more widely, he noted.  Skills, training, educational attainment and employer engagement all got a look-in in what was a wide-ranging and enjoyable discussion.

Dougal Paver

Dougal Paver

Dougal Paver is managing director of PR and public affairs agency Merrion Strategy and a retained advisor to a range of national and regional developers and investors.
Downtown in Business