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.

A shifting social population: four trends to prepare for for the future – 0

Jeff Hewitt, Executive Director for Housing & Asset Management at Civica, looks at how changing consumer behaviour and increasingly diverse communities mean housing providers will have to work even harder to meet tenant demands.

There are a diverse and challenging number of factors currently at play when we consider changes in our social housing landscape, ranging from shifting central government policy, UK and global economic trends and the still unknown impact of Brexit, whether hard or soft. 

Read More

Dangerous data – 0

By Stephen Baker, Chief Executive of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Councils and Solace Spokesperson on Civil Resilience and Community Safety

I recently chaired a Solace seminar that addressed the issues raised by the new “General Data Protection Act” (GDPR), specifically in relation to the data and personal details generated by receiving credit and debit card payments. There were clearly issues raised that we, as Chief Execs and Senior Managers, need to be aware of. However, I am no expert, so I have asked CPRAS, the new business partners of Solace, to identify the 5 key issues that CXs need to consider.

Read More

What are your views on Government's new Industrial Strategy? – 0

Martin Swales, Chief Executive, South Tyneside Council and Solace Spokesperson for Economic Prosperity and Housing

As you will know, Government published their Industrial Strategy Green Paper on 23 January this year, setting out their plans for a stronger economy and fairer society, where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community.

Key to the approach Government has set out are 10 pillars constituting drivers, and enablers, of growth, including skills, infrastructure, supporting businesses to start and grow, as well as science and innovation (more details can be found within the document here).  

Local Government plays a key role in creating the conditions in which economies can grow and, in the context of the green paper, how these 10 pillars come together at a local level to drive economic growth in places.

Read More

Just when we thought it was going so well… – 0

Stephen Baker, Chief Executive of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Councils, and Solace Spokesperson on Civil Resilience and Community Safety

In a recent Solace blog about cyber resilience, I implored colleagues to implement a small exercise at a meeting of their management team. As I’m not the sort of chap who would suggest trying something if I wasn’t prepared to do so myself, I recently did just that. I’m not sure about an ‘Oscar’, but Ann Carey, Head of ICT, certainly played the part incredibly well, with a sombre expression and serious demeanour easily convincing colleagues that we had a serious issue.

The following text is by Nicole Rickard, Head of Communities, and explains how she felt as the exercise unfolded. If anyone wants their staff to contact Nicole or Ann, their details are at the end of the blog.

Read More

All the evidence suggests you need to attend this Solace Masterclass – 0

By Neil Wholey, Head of Evaluation and Performance at Westminster City Council and one of the Solace Deputy Spokespersons for Evidence-led decision making. He is also Chair of LARIA (Local Area Research and Intelligence Association). 

Solace will be holding its next Evidence Masterclass on Tuesday 9th May 2017 in Leeds. I attended one last year and found that it establishes a clear way for senior decision makers to not only make the case for the use of evidence, but to do so in a very practical way.

In a world where cries of #FAKENEWS seem to be trumping the evidence of “so-called experts” it is vital that we have the skills to keep a more rational head. Good evidence tells a convincing story that can be scrutinised. It should make sense of the complex, give a steer on the right path to take and provide genuine insight that motivates people to act to achieve a real impact.

The Evidence Masterclass provides three main ways to ensure that evidence is valued and used in this way. These are to use the framework, check the provenance of the evidence, and to embrace risk.

Read More

Casey Review into opportunity and integration – so what next? – 0

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

Dame Louise Casey’s long-awaited review into opportunity and integration has been out a couple of months now. Landing in the middle of the Brexit debate, a Trump presidency, and ongoing cases hitting the media in relation to extremism and radicalisation it is of real relevance to our time, but it has also had to fight for air space.

In its 200 pages, there are some powerful messages about economic/social isolation and missed opportunities in our communities across Great Britain. In her inimitable way, Dame Louise challenges all of us in public life to grasp the challenge head on of how to provide civic leadership in an era of demographic change, the localisation of global issues in our neighbourhoods and the role of new ways to engage and inspire young people, women and those communities with a perceived aspiration gap – whether white working class, Pakistani or Bangladeshi. 

Read More

Guest blog: How will the receipt of social care change in future? – 0

By George Stoye, Senior Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies

This blog was originally published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on 10 February 2017 here

How we fund and provide social care for the older population is an important policy issue. A National Audit Office report published this week suggests that the recent implementation of the Better Care Fund has so far struggled to reduce social care pressures imposing additional costs on NHS hospitals. The IFS Green Budget, also published this week showed that per-capita adult social care spending by government has fallen since 2009–10.

Read More

Digital Leadership – it starts by simply talking about it! – 0

By Matt Prosser, Chief Executive, Dorset Councils Partnership and Solace Spokesperson on Digital Leadership

So I’ve taken on this Digital Leadership role from the effervescent Martin Reeves, and thought I should put finger (s!) to keyboard and develop a rather eloquent piece about Digital Leadership…to inspire and demonstrate what a tech-savvy digital leader I am and you can be! I do trust irony is not lost in the printed form, even if viewed on-line. Digital Leadership, as I am often heard to say, is not about being a technical expert, but is about our leadership role within the digital age.

Read More

The Future of Health and Social Care Funding – 0

By Mike Suarez, Chief Executive, Cheshire East Council and Solace Spokesperson on Local Government Finance

The social care funding question is now one of the biggest issues facing all world leaders. It is, therefore, positive at least that a structural mechanism is now in its second year in local government which recognises explicitly that additional funding for a maturing population is essential to help balance the books. In all partners, a realisation of the profound service delivery issues facing is now getting the recognition it deserves from a maturing prison population to the developing market for products and services to support the quality of life into our later years.

Read More

Reinvigorating our town centres – 0

By Martina Cicakova, Policy Officer, Solace

I recently came across a thought-inspiring podcast series Local Gov Life, piloted earlier this year by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The series provides a mix of stories, insights and advice from local government leaders in the United States (U.S.) and Canada. In particular, Episode 3 on Reinvigorating Downtown caught my attention. It offers international perspectives on how local development and engagement initiatives can help create a greater sense of community amongst citizens and boost their local economies. Specifically, the podcast takes an in-depth look at the town centre initiatives of three different communities in the U.S. and Canada and it discusses the strategies their local government leaders are using to reinvigorate their town centres.

Solace is always keen to promote learning from international examples and share best practice from other countries and the podcast will hopefully provide you with inspiration to pursue innovative ideas to transform your own local areas and bring your town centres to life. 

Read More