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.

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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Are we bothered by falling satisfaction with local government? – 0

By Neil Wholey, Head of Evaluation and Performance, Westminster City Council and a Solace Deputy spokesperson on Evidence-based decision making                                      

Satisfaction with local government is at the lowest it has been in the last five years. This is after many years of holding steady. At the local level the picture is likely to be diverse. The majority of councils will be in line with the trend, with some bucking it in a positive direction and others doing much worse. 

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The New Era of Public Service Delivery – 0

By Gary Bell, Executive Director, Outsourcing, Civica

Each year, new data is released that shows customer service and the customer experience are more important than ever. According to Forrester, 72% of businesses say that improving the customer experience is their top priority. And it’s not just the private sector that is sitting up and taking note. The public sector, you could argue, is in an even tighter spot, as it’s faced with the challenge of significantly improving service delivery and customer experience but with ever dwindling budgets.

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A regional view of Brexit impacts: A risk index – 0

By Claire Hampson, Insights and Analytics, Grant Thornton UK LLP

To understand how resilient areas of the UK are likely to be to Brexit, we have created a framework that assesses the different factors which are most likely to impact on a place's ability to adapt in a post-Brexit world.

The analysis takes into account the level of EU funding and Foreign Direct Investment a place currently receives and combines this with local factors to create a differentiated, place-based picture of Brexit. The question then is - how able and prepared is local government to make the changes needed to mitigate the risks posed by Brexit?

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Dodo birds win in a post-salami world – 0

By Rob Kenyon, Director of Community Services, Thanet District Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson, Innovation and Commissioning

We’ve all been there [haven’t we?]: dinner parties, get togethers, aperitifs… Inevitably, no matter how many nibbles get shared around at a time, eventually, there’s always one last piece of salami on the smorgasbord of antipasti- waiting to be devoured.

Who is going to take it?

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Reflecting on two years at Solace – 0

By Helen Reeves, Senior Policy Officer, Solace

It’s been two years since I started working for Solace. I began working here in those heady months after General Election 2015 when David Cameron had just won a surprise majority, and Jeremy Corbyn becoming Leader of the Labour Party seemed only a bit more unlikely than Britain actually leaving the European Union.

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A digital transformation agenda for social housing – 0

By Jeff Hewitt, Civica’s Executive Director for Housing & Asset Management who discusses how evolving technology and a data-rich approach will change our future social housing sector for the better.

The UK’s social housing sector is a current hot topic and for good reason. While there are currently almost 2,000 registered providers of affordable and low-income housing (with these tenants making up 17% of total households), demand is still outstripping supply. The UK’s most vulnerable tenants are being steadily pushed out of the private rental market, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey, with new figures showing rents are predicted to rise by in excess of 20 per cent over the next five years.

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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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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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