York St John University research commission to tackle productivity and poverty in Leeds City Region

York St John University Business School, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, has been commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to undertake an exciting new research project to make a real difference to the Leeds City Region’s prosperity.

Working with major anchor organisations in the region – including organisations with a large economic footprint such as councils; health services; universities; and large private sector organisations – the Action Research on Poverty project will address how improvements in productivity and performance in those organisations can also benefit individuals, families and local economies to work towards overcoming the effects of unemployment, poverty and ill-health.

The research project, which aims to complete in January 2016, will engage chief executives from major anchor organisations which have a significant role to play in the social, economic and cultural development of city regions.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has commissioned the research amongst anchor organisations which already play a major role, providing employment opportunities, supporting local supply chains and undertaking a variety of activities in pursuit of organisational goals associated with economic performance and corporate social responsibility.

Josh Stott, head of team (place) at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Innovative approaches to workforce development and procurement can improve productivity and performance. This project provides a unique opportunity for anchor organisations to identify and develop those approaches which we believe will make a significant difference to the city region’s prosperity through more and better paid jobs.”

The York St John University’s Business School and Leeds Beckett University project team is systematically identifying anchor organisations in the city region which are willing to collaborate to help make a difference to how people are recruited, employed, trained and paid.

In particular, it is searching for organisations which struggle to recruit adequately skilled individuals and those which might also have elements of the workforce that lack the skills to support the sustainability and growth of the organisation. Participant organisations might need to find a way to retain staff commitment whilst adapting to new business conditions or they could be looking to reap the benefits of a more responsive and productive workforce.

Bob Garvey, Professor of Business Education at York St John University Business School, said: “The first phase of the project will involve our researchers meeting with chief executives to outline the project, ascertain commitment and agree the method of research going forward. The key to the project is to gather feedback from different mind-sets to shape ideas on good practise which will help organisations map out routes to make improvements that will ultimately benefit the wider community.”

For information on how anchor organisations in the Leeds City Region can get involved, please visit www.jrf.org.uk or contact Robert Garvey, Professor of Business Education, York St John Business School r.garvey@yorksj.ac.uk.