Solace Blog

Articles and blogs written or contributed to by Solace staff and Board members for external publications including the Guardian, Local Government Chronicle and Municipal Journal are republished for browsing on this page.

A number of these can be accessed through the Solace Guardian Public Leaders Network Partner Zone.

Devolution: the West Midlands in Focus – 0

By Solace Business Partners, Zurich Municipal.

Greater Manchester, which in April became the first English region to take control of its health and social care spending, is perhaps the highest-profile example of the Conservative Government’s commitment to devolution.

Devolution is also high on the agenda in the West Midlands, where 12 local authorities have joined the new West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The WMCA came into force on 17 June, and we recently held a roundtable with representatives of several of its member authorities, namely Narinder Phagura (Sandwell MBC), Sara McNally (Dudley MBC) and Neil Pearson (Walsall MBC), to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges of devolution, and alternative methods of service delivery.

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A new horizon or more of the same? – 0

By Steve Atkinson, Chief Executive, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Evidence-Based Policy

A little over six years ago, we embarked on a Coalition Westminster Government for the first time in 65 years. Sixteen months ago, we saw the first Conservative Government in nearly a generation. Within the last few weeks, Theresa May entered Number 10 – as the sitting tenant, not a visitor – the second female prime Minister in our history. I make that point because of the time that took to happen, not the fact of its happening.

So, has this been a period of unprecedented change for us in local government – or is it business as usual?

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Learning about learning – 0

By Abdool Kara, Chief Executive of Swale Borough Council and Solace Spokesperson on Evidence-Based Policy 

Wearing my Solace hat as a spokesperson on evidence-based decision making, I have been working with the Institute for Government on their local public service reform agenda. Last week, the IfG launched a new report, Supporting learning to integrate services and improve outcomes [1], alongside an accompanying set of eight case studies [2]. The report builds on a previous briefing paper [3] that identified the barriers that have prevented significant progress in service integration despite many attempts.

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The importance of being bold – 0

By James Cardwell-Moore, Commercial Director, Business Stream

We have been speaking a lot about boldness in business recently at Business Stream, thanks partly to the publication of our latest white paper, Beyond Bold: Strategies for Growth, produced in conjunction with the British Chamber of Commerce.

If you’ve not yet seen it, I’d recommend you give it a read. It provides a fascinating insight into the attitudes and behaviours of 400 business leaders across the UK. The paper raises some interesting issues – for example, whilst more than 90% have ambitions for growth, 44% had no formal growth strategy.

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“With a little help from your friends…” – 0

By Helen Reeves, Senior Policy Officer, Solace

As the August lull takes over, it seems a good time to take stock of where we’re at as a sector, and to think about the continued challenges we can anticipate, and those that seem more uncertain. With the new Government finding their feet over the coming weeks, here in the policy team we wait with some trepidation to see what existing government policy will come out unscathed of the other side of the summer recess and what, if any, fresh proposals (those more pessimistic amongst you may wish to supplant ‘proposals’ for the words ‘new hell’) will emerge.

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How innovation can drive change in Local Government – 0

By Steve Knights, Local Government: Service delivery, Consultancy, Efficiency and Improvement, New initiatives, Innovation projects, Sopra Steria

I have been recently considering how innovative technology can support the future of health and care services as part of the contribution that Sopra Steria is making to Lord Patel of Bradford’s report ‘Breaking Barriers’ that was released on the 28th of June.

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What is it like to be a 21st Century Public Servant? – 0

By Trudy Birtwell, Head of Leadership and Organisational Development, Solace Group

Earlier this month we had the great pleasure of launching a new and inspiring publication developed jointly with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Public Services People Managers’ Association (PPMA). The e-storybook is entitled Walk tall – Being a 21st Century Public Servant.  The stories we tell ourselves and others can help us change the way we think, feel and act. In this unique book, we have taken that well known idea and used compelling stories to illustrate the experience of being a 21st century public servant, and to inspire colleagues to develop the characteristics of this new breed.

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Leadership in Action Series: Bridget McIntyre, Founder of Dream On – 0

To download a PDF version of this article, please click here 

Many people have ambitions, big ideas or perhaps a dream job. Bridget had just that. Read on to find out more about how Bridget has maximised her learning and experiences from the corporate world into the social enterprise that is now dream on. She has added looking at increasing social value and inspiring women to be the best they can be is the end goal.

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Whereto for Housing now? – 0

By Hugo Stephens, Commercial Housing Partner, Bevan Brittan LLP

The Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference at the end of June was, unsurprisingly, dominated by the EU referendum result, with the overwhelming majority of delegates in a state of bewilderment that the country voted for Brexit. Much of the conference was taken up with discussion of Brexit's implications for housing and the view seemed to be that it would make housing providers' job harder. This was based on financial markets turbulence increasing the costs of borrowing, the loss of EU funding and the risk that housebuilders and developers would not be able to hire the staff they need because of restrictions on immigration.

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Delivering Accelerated Housing Growth – 0

By Manjeet Gill, Chief Executive, West Lindsey District Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Housing

‘Delivery’ and particularly ‘accelerated delivery’ are the key words we have been hearing from Government, and this is consistent with the new Government Ministers. The recent changes in Government have resulted in having a new Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, who has indicated that as a result of the European Union referendum outcome to leave the EU, there is a need to increase investment in infrastructure. 

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