Localis is an independent think-tank dedicated to issues related to politics, public service reform and localism. We carry out innovative research, hold events and facilitate an ever growing network of members to stimulate and challenge the current orthodoxy of the governance of the UK.

Established in 2001, our work promotes neo-localist ideas and concepts through research, events and commentary, covering a range of local and national domestic policy issues.

As a working concept, neo-localism is about giving places and people more control over the effects of globalisation. It is concerned by economic prosperity, but also enhancing other aspects of people’s lives such as family and culture. It is not anti-globalisation, but wants to bend the mainstream of social and economic policy so that place is put at the centre of political thinking.

In particular our work is focused on four areas:

  • Decentralising political economy. Developing and differentiating regional economies and an accompanying devolution of democratic leadership.
  • Empowering local leadership. Elevating the role and responsibilities of local leaders in shaping and directing their place.
  • Extending local civil capacity. The mission of the strategic authority as a convener of civil society; from private to charity sector, household to community.
  • Reforming public services. Ideas to help save the public services and institutions upon which many in society depend.

Latest reports


This report from UK think tank Localis looks at the value of pubs to society and to the economy. Across Britain, pubs have long stood as familiar and welcoming landmarks. Their significance goes beyond mere watering holes; they have consistently played a pivotal role in knitting communities together and promoting social cohesion. Inn-valuable looks at...

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Brightness on the edge of town

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at how Community Land Trusts can deliver affordable housing. The Government has recognised the benefits that second homes and short-term holiday lettings can bring to local economies and to the tourism sector in terms of increasing consumer choice and distributing tourism across the country. At the same...

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Level measures

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at a modern agenda for public service integration. Perhaps the greatest of the myriad challenges facing local government is the continued delivery of local public services against the headwinds of rising inflation and inexorable demographic pressures. With the dozen missions outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper...

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Climate resilience in local plans

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at adaptation and mitigation in local development as councils adapt to widespread flooding. As climate shifts worldwide, councils across England are being hit by increasingly extreme weather patterns including violent storm surges, unbearable temperatures, and widespread flooding. At the level of place, our local authorities are best...

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Moving through the gears

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at where local government finance might be in 2030. Council finances are in a precarious position. Wound tightly from the time of the astringencies of the 2010 spending review, to the limited protections that saw the sector through the Covid years, the principal cogs of local government...

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Public rental homes: fresh perspectives

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at what percentage of private homes must be provided to produce the number of affordable public rental homes needed. Just short of 250,000 new council homes were built in 1953. Housing minister Harold MacMillan permitted local authorities to build as many homes as there were applicants on...

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Surface tensions

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at working together against flash flooding. As the impacts of climate change become clearer every year, the UK must be better prepared for the manifold impacts of extreme weather events, including floods. In England alone, some 5.4 million homes – one-in-six – are at risk of flooding,...

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Mapping a route to clean local growth

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at clearing the path to net zero. The UK is committed to reaching net zero by 2050, with numerous pieces of legislation enshrining the target and backing this politically. Understanding what needs to be done to drive decarbonisation, and what accompanying opportunities there are for increasing prosperity...

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The connected society

This report from UK think tank Localis provides a policy toolkit for local engagement in the public realm. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of a clear national mandate for levelling up, public organisations and councils across the political spectrum are waking up to the idea that there is a...

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Recovery and renewal on the Kent high street

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at a sustained post-Covid local economic recovery and the need for high streets to be able thrive and grow. There is perhaps no better barometer of local economic health than the local high street. Rightly or wrongly, nothing gives such an immediate impression of a place. And...

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Reaching rural properties

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at the role of off-grid heating in the transition to Net Zero. Localis was commissioned by Liquid Gas UK to undertake a rigorous place-based analysis to investigate energy provision and decarbonisation in hard-to-reach and off-grid properties in rural areas. The intention in our report has been to...

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Resetting the South East

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at levelling Up after Brexit, climate change, and COVID. As one of only three regions of the country to be net contributors to the Exchequer, the role of the South East region in advancing the levelling up agenda for national renewal remains pivotal. Resetting the South East...

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The Medici Code

This report from UK think tank Localis provides reflections and responses to the Levelling Up White Paper. The Levelling Up White Paper, released in February 2022, represents the most significant, comprehensive and wide-reaching UK government statement on devolution, geographic inequality and regional political economy in at least a decade. The paper filled the intellectual void...

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True value

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at a move towards ethical public service commissioning. Public procurement and outsourcing have great potential when managed well, with the volume of public sector spend across the country creating many opportunitites to advance strategic economic goals. Unfortunately, for decades, successive governments have been unable to tap systematically...

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Plain dealing

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at how to build for flood resilience. The UK is experiencing more extreme weather events including flooding and rising sea-levels. The planning system must absorb and adapt to new circumstances wrought by climate change, with flooding a particular area of concern. This is most clearly manifest at...

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