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.

Healthcare opportunities for local authorities from smart energy data – 0

By Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications, Smart Energy GB

One of the most exciting aspects of Britain’s smart meter rollout is that this upgrade of our national energy infrastructure is creating a dynamic new platform that enables new innovations and services to be built around the data generated.

This month Smart Energy GB and UCL published a new report exploring the potential future uses for energy data in the realm of health and care.

For some time, there has been a growing focus within our health system on providing the best possible care for people in the familiar environment of their own homes. Whether they have a long-term condition or are vulnerable in other ways, there is a great deal that technology can already offer to aid and support daily life.

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Our European digital barometer survey: Some key findings – 0

By Philip Craig, Government Sector Strategy Director at Sopra Steria

Sopra Steria recently asked the researchers at Ipsos to conduct a survey of 1000 people, from a broad range of social groups and across the United Kingdom, to understand their experience of and expectations for digital government. We wanted a better understanding of the complex and diverse reasons behind adoption of digital government services, where there is an appetite for more or different services and the obstacles that block greater adoption.

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Introducing a new guide on using evidence in scrutiny – 0

By Abdool Kara, Executive Leader, Local Services, National Audit Office and Solace Spokesperson on Evidence Based Policy 

Ensuring that public services, and the deployment of public resources, are evidence led, or at least evidence informed, is vitally important, and even more so in these days of permanent austerity, deepening unsolved wicked issues afflicting society, and the emergence of public sector policy being driven by fake news, alternative facts, and post-truth narratives.

This week the Centre for Public Scrutiny, in partnership with Solace and the Alliance for Useful Evidence (supported by Nesta), launched Using evidence: A practice guide for local government scrutiny.The publication comes out of the desire of our three organisations to rebalance the discourse, and establish a new tone of decision making, one that reflects the facts and evidence as best as we know them at any given point in time.

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Cyber resilience and the importance of being prepared – 0

By Robin Tuddenham, Director of Communities and Service Support, Calderdale MBC and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Civil Resilience and Community Safety

Last week’s internationally coordinated ransomware attack had a severe impact on the NHS, demonstrates the importance of cyber resilience, and highlights the urgency of addressing the cyber threat to the public sector.

On Friday 12th May at about 3.45pm when the news broke of a large-scale cyberattack on the NHS, my council had to act fast. By 3.54pm we were activating our emergency plan, testing our network and assessing what actions we had to take to protect our systems. Seven minutes later, we closed our connection to the NHS network, disabled internal staff access to our website and began a series of communications.

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How local authorities are helping to fix our broken housing market – 0

Guest blog by Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive, Royal Town Planning Institute 

The recent housing White Paper included encouragement for local authorities to engage more directly in the provision of housing to make up the shortfall between private sector development and locally assessed housing requirements, most frequently set out in local plans. This gap between need and provision has been a continuing issue for the government and now, while local authorities are giving planning permissions for more housing on larger plots, there are many sites where these planning consents are not being implemented, causing local frustration. At the same time, some local authorities have been considering ways to make up that shortfall through their own direct action. In 2015, over 50% of council leaders stated their intention to form a wholly owned local authority housing company, using general fund rather than housing revenue account methods. By the end of 2016, a survey of all councils showed that 125 local authorities had created companies although not all of them are active yet.

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Can Local Government Chief Executives rise to the Place Based Health challenge? – 0

By Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council and Solace Spokesperson - Leadership and Learning and Becky Shaw, Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson - Leadership and Learning.

Around a year ago, we began planning a new approach to senior leadership development, convened by Solace, supported by the Local Government Association, and delivered by Collaborate in partnership with the RSA.  During those initial conversations we posed the question: in a quick moving and increasingly challenging context, what will it take to lead positive change in our places?   

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Understanding the public service leadership challenges – 0

By Trudy Birtwell, Head of Leadership and Organisational Development at Solace and Jeremy Lewis, Solace Associate and MD at CMdeltaConsulting. 

The challenges

The public service leadership challenges of cuts, confusion and change have become the norm.  The basic elements needed to lead through this ever-changing landscape are: clarity over direction; adequate support to adopt change (preferably in the form of budgets for resources and development) and positive consequences for delivering the change without damaging services.

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Transformation: don’t just focus on front end services – 0

It’s vital to transform service delivery from end-to end says Gary Bell, Executive Director of Outsourcing at Civica.

The way the public sector is responding to its challenges is changing at a rapid rate. Significant financial and services pressures are being compounded by the added weight of increased public demand, influenced by citizen’s wider experiences as consumers. Today, citizens expect public services to be consistent, available, accessible and reliable.

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11 things every Returning Officer needs to know – 0

The 11 things Returning Officers need to do for May (and June):

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Cracking on with the snap election – 0

Like my own team and I, many of you will have had to hold ‘snap’ planning meetings this week to work out just how you’re going to take on the challenge that the ‘snap’ General Election represents. Like myself, many of you will already been at a critical stage in your planning for local and mayoral elections – in themselves, no small feat.

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