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.

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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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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