Solace Blog

As well as those used in the weekly Solace News email for members, 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.

Helping to shape a successful Brexit – 0

By Martin Swales, Chief Executive of South Tyneside MBC and Solace Spokesperson for Economic Growth and Housing

Last month, the Prime Minister signalled that Government is open to considering all ideas and contributions to tackle the complex negotiations arising from Brexit.

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Industrial Strategy and skills – 0

By Nick Bell, Chief Executive of the Prospects Group

Since taking up the leadership of her Party and becoming Prime Minister just over a year ago, Theresa May has advocated the development of an Industrial Strategy as a key means of advancing her declared ambition for “a country that works for everyone”, as well as preparing the country to prosper outside of the European Union. Whilst a lot of political water has since passed under the bridge casting doubt over a number of her policies, this one has staying power, within both the Conservative and the Labour parties.

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What working at a council has taught me about policy – 0

By Piali Das Gupta, Head of Policy at Solace

Coming to the end of my fourth week as Head of Policy at Solace, an uncomfortable realisation has hit me. I spent 15 years working in policy, but it is only now after finishing an 18-month hiatus from that world that I truly understand that my job is not about being clever. There are loads of clever people out there with shiny theories that set out nice neat solutions in a series of easy steps. (Incidentally, we met a lot of people wanting to sell us their shiny wares when I was at Birmingham City Council; it is one of the hazards of working at an authority engaged in a well-publicised process of transformation.)

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Making our cities safer and stronger: A focus on resilience – 0

By Dr Kathryn Oldham OBE, Chief Resilience Officer, Greater Manchester

As local authorities we are uniquely positioned to make our cities and our communities more resilient. A resilient city is, in turn, attractive to investors and senior sponsorship of resilience contributes to economic growth in addition to encouraging stronger and more cohesive communities.

In recent months UK cities have been the focus of tragedy and a series of horrific terrorist attacks. Our communities have responded with collective compassion, an outpouring of generosity and a determination to face adversity. 

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Digital leadership: What is the role of digital communities? – 0

By Alison McKenzie Folan, Deputy Chief Executive, Director Customer Transformation, 
Wigan Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Digital Leadership

There’s a lot of chatter about digital communities right now; how they develop and grow and the role they play. The term means different things in different contexts and the scale of the community varies greatly.

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The cashless payments opportunity for local authorities – 0

Civica Payments Managing Director Andrew Stenton explores the rate of change in payments solutions and the opportunities for the future. 

There is no doubt that the UK is at the tipping point of huge developments in cashless payments and finance technology.

We’ve seen a rapid uptake in the use of mobile technologies such as Apple, Android and Samsung Pay, and contactless payments, alongside the use of digital currencies such as bitcoin and GovCoin. With half of Britain’s population keeping less than £5 on their person at any one time, cashless is here – and here to stay. This dramatic shift in the way the general public shops, clicks and pays presents both challenges and opportunities for all commercial operations, including the public sector.

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Skills and local economic growth: Putting the focus where it needs to be – 0

By Martin Swales, Chief Executive of South Tyneside MBC and Solace spokesperson for Economic Growth and Housing

This week at a joint Solace and Prospects Industrial Strategy & Skills Fringe Event at the LGA Conference, Solace launched a new paper that sets out some of our initial thinking on skills and local economic growth. The session was very well received and attended, and sparked an interesting discussion.

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How partnering with local authorities can help beat the housing crisis – 0

By David Cowans, Chief Executive at Places for People

We all recognise the need to build more homes to improve affordability, particularly for young people who can face eye-watering deposits. More housing supply is a crucial part of the required response. The key to boosting this supply is diversification, which will enable a range of large and small housing companies and local authorities to bring their capacity and expertise to boost housing production.

Local authorities often face severe revenue constraints, so innovative new partnerships have a critical role to play in achieving the key aims of getting new developments underway and generating new income streams.

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Unlocking research for local government – 0

By Jason Lowther, Head of Corporate Strategy, Birmingham City Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Evidence Based Policy

Local government needs evidence, from the apparently mundane but nonetheless critical (‘What choice of cladding will minimise the risk of fire spreading?’) to extraordinary insights (‘How do people choose what to eat and whether to be active?’, ‘What skills will today’s youngsters need in the jobs market of 2050?’).

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Cybersecurity fight needs everyone to volunteer – 0

Guest blog by Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Research at Socitm

From employees to board members, public sector organisations need to be united in tackling IT-based attacks.

The public sector’s vulnerability to cybersecurity threats has been placed in the spotlight by the recent Wannacry ransomware attack on the NHS. Local authorities are not immune, as was demonstrated by the 2016 ransomware attack on Lincolnshire County Council. This caused the council to close down some systems for several days, although it did not pay the ransom and only a small number of files were affected. 

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