CEO’s Closing Comments

Last month I reflected on some of the important achievements that the markets industry has secured in recent years and some of the challenges we face going forward. This month, in my last article as NABMA Chief Executive, I want to highlight our forthcoming Annual Conference and the work that will be showcased at that Conference.

“Celebrating Markets” is the central theme of the Conference and we will be looking at some of the Markets that provide inspirational stories and also good practice models for other markets to follow. Borough Market, St George’s Market Belfast and Skipton Market are all past winners of our Great British Market Awards and they will each be telling us their story.

We will also be hearing from Caernarfonshire and Alcester about their markets offer and the success they have enjoyed.

The Conference also marks the culmination of two major projects that NABMA has been pursuing over the last twelve months and gives us an opportunity to report the findings and stimulate more debate and interest.

The first project concerns management arrangements and NABMA is indebted to ROI for the work that they have done to put together twelve case studies of local authority markets that have gone through a management review. We report on success stories and changes that have not been as successful as intended but also on what the local authorities regard as key messages emerging from the reviews.

We will also hear from York about how management changes have impacted on the delivery of the markets service there.

The second project has been undertaken in partnership with APSE and has featured ten of our members who have put together a series of performance indicators that will assist in measuring how markets perform. This pilot project will initially be of benefit to the ten members who have invested in the work, but NABMA intends that this project will provide a benchmarking template for markets across the country.

Workshops will feature prominently in the programme this year. Two of the workshops will provide an opportunity for further discussion on performance and benchmarking while there will be two more on social media and NABMA’s main project for 2018 Pitch Up for Retail.

Youth will also feature prominently with presentations from youth markets held in Camden and Leicester and an update on NMTF’s National Youth Market in Manchester.

Stockton-on-Tees will also feature their programme of speciality markets highlighting the importance of balancing your programme of such markets with the general weekly market offer.

Partnership working between local authorities is also important in developing a market offer and Northumberland County County and Blythe Town Council will be providing an update on a project to revitalise the Blythe Market.

Finally, we will be looking back at LYLM 2017, and with the help of Steve Pickering, who has put together excepts from lots of video coverage of the campaign, we will presenting a sample of what took place during that wonderful fortnight in May.

I hope I have whetted your appetite because by the time you read this article there is still time to get your booking in and join us at Stratford Upon Avon. The NABMA Annual Conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel from the 17th to 19th September. If you cannot join us for the whole Conference you are very welcome as a day delegate. You can book via the NABMA website at The Conference will also be the event at which we announce the Markets awards for Market Manager, Market Team, Market Innovation and Market Young Person. We also make the annual Krys Zasada award to recognise outstanding service in memory of a great servant of the markets industry.

Of course, Conference is much more than the formal Conference sessions. It is a chance to recharge batteries, it is a chance to catch up on friendships, it is a chance to see what offers are available and a chance to network with colleagues from around the country.

Finally, the NABMA Conference gives me an opportunity to say thank you in person to many people it has been my privilege to work with over the last almost fourteen years. If I see you in the bar you might even get a drink out of me. Coming from a Yorkshireman that is an offer not to be missed.

Graham Wilson OBE, CEO NABMA