MIPIM | Reeves: Liverpool’s reputational repairs going well
Liverpool City Council’s chief executive told Place North West that investor sentiment in the city has improved “significantly” in recent months as the authority continues the laborious process of repairing its damaged reputation.
Almost 12 months ago, the bruising Max Caller report was released, painting a dire picture of the inner workings of Liverpool City Council. The report described the authority as rotten and dysfunctional.
Chief executive Tony Reeves has been leading the effort to turn things around and after what he describes as a painful process, he believes a shift in investors’ attitudes towards the city is already taking place.
“If you go and talk to the likes of L&G and Aviva and others, they’re now significantly more prepared to invest in Liverpool than they were previously. They’re talking about Liverpool being a very investable proposition.”
Those names would not have felt this way in the past because “they were concerned that things weren’t right,” Reeves added.
“What’s happened in terms of us dealing with these issues, which was quite painful publicly to go through, is that it’s actually had a positive impact on investor sentiment.”
This is good news and Reeves’ understanding of what needs to change in order to build on that positive sentiment is clear: “we have to repair our reputation, and earn back the trust and respect of our partners,” he said.
The ‘how’ of this revolves around transparent collaboration with those partners and demonstrating “confidence, clarity and consistency” on all fronts, according to Reeves.
“It is about working with the public and private sectors to a very, very clear plan, and consistently selling what Liverpool has to offer and the great assets in the city.”
These assets include the depth of the city’s graduate talent pool, investment and real estate opportunities like the emerging Knowledge Quarter, and Liverpool’s specialisms in life sciences and data, Reeves said.
“I think we can build on the strengths that we’ve got. And it’s really [about] that triple helix of public sector, academia, and private sector, coming together and working to that very clear vision and selling Liverpool.”
That triple helix is what Reeves is referring to when he talks about Team Liverpool. When asked how the last few years had been for him personally, the man who took on the role of chief executive in August 2018 said that team had been invaluable in helping him start to turn the tide.
“It’s never ever about individuals. It’s always about the team. The great thing about team Liverpool is it’s not just the council, it’s the private sector. It’s all the partners all pulling together in a very, very supportive environment.
“It’s been a tough period for everybody but being around a fantastic team is the thing that makes you want to get up and go to work in the morning.”
That assessment is a far cry from Caller’s depiction of a rotten council and shows how far the authority has come since it was published. So what do the next 12 months have in store for the city?
Major schemes like Littlewoods Film Studios, Pall Mall, and Hemisphere – the next major building at Paddington Village – will be on site, Reeves predicts.
Add to this continued progress on Festival Gardens and you have yourself an exciting pipeline of schemes coming forward that could continue to encourage investment back into the city.
“Once we get all of those moving, I think the message and the Liverpool story starts to sell itself. We can then just build on it. It is about getting the hard yards done over the next 12 months.”
Place North West MIPIM 2022 coverage is sponsored by Castle Green Homes.