Reports & Guides

Solace regularly publishes research reports and briefs offering innovative policy solutions and recommendations on a range of policy areas, as well as guides containing practical counsel for members on a wide array of leadership issues. All of our research publications, as well as some produced by our business and strategic partners, are available to download on this page.

 
  • The role of Evidence and Research in Local Government

    This report by the Local Government Knowledge Navigator (LGKN) assesses the extent to which local authorities use evidence and research to inform decisions and policy making. It was initiated by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace) and the Local Government Association (LGA) and is based on a survey completed on-line Solace members. The report analyses responses to the survey questions across four key themes: Use of evidence and research; Sources of evidence and research and resource allocation; Future evidence and research resource availability & Benefits, disadvantages, and challenges in the use of evidence and research.

  • Post-Party Conference Briefing

    Following the recent referendum on Scottish independence, and with eyes cast ahead to the next General Election in 2015, Britain has seen the final round of the country’s three main political party conferences in the past three weeks. This briefing provides an analysis of the main policy announcements relevant for local government.

  • Are Legal Services Special?

    This report from DAC Beachcroft LLP looks at the transformation of the legal services market in local government over the last 10 to 15 years, and some of the options for service delivery that now exist.

  • Solace Civil Resilience

    This report is based on a survey of Solace members looking at council's role in civil resilience, including emergency planning, training, funding and managing a co-ordinated response. The report feeds back the findings of the survey and draws wider conclusions to shape future support and training for chief executives and senior officers working in ths field.

  • Strengthening your Society: a consultation

    This Solace leaflet explains governance changes that the organisation is going through, and asks for feedback and comments to support Solace along the journey. Its sets out the objectives of the organisation, and how we are looking to achieve them. It stresses a need to foster greater structural and cultural integration across the Group, improving efficiency and supporting our desire to offer seamless customer journeys to our members, business partners and clients.

  • Opportunity Knocks: An Alternative Manifesto

    This Solace report acts as an alternative manifesto for local government. It provides a new vision of how better services could be delivered with local people. The report is intended to promote debate and provide a framework to help thinking around local public service reform. By setting a stress test against which political policies can be considered, it provides a mechanism to judge the likely effectiveness of future measures.

  • From Analysis to Action: Connecting Research and Local Government in an Age of Austerity

    This report by the Local Government Knowledge Navigator, steered by Solace and the LGA, examines how to achieve a wider and more productive engagement between local government and the research community. It looks at local government’s research needs and internal capacity, the supply and funding of research, the value of research and local government collaboration and the barriers that need tackling.

  • Collaboration in Action: Local authorities that are making the most of research

    This evidence review by the Local Government Knowledge Navigators, steered by Solace and the LGA, examines evidence of successful Local Authority and research collaboration. The review examines 16 case studies of local authorities making effective use of research and uses these to identify key ingredients for successful collaboration.

  • Queen’s Speech Briefing 2014

    This briefing contains a summary of key points for local government and Solace members raised by Her Majesty in the Queen's speech to both Houses of Parliament.

  • What Local Government Needs to Know about The Levers of Local Economic Development

    This week the Local Government Knowledge Navigators, steered by Solace and the LGA, published the 4th report in the ‘Need to know’ series on local economic growth. This review explores the existing knowledge base on the levers of local economic development. Firstly, the review weighs up the evidence behind broad approaches to local economic development. Secondly, the review considers the evidence base on specific policies to stimulate local economic development.

  • Reclaiming Children's Services

    This Solace policy report calls on local government to ‘reclaim children’s services’ from national Government and inspectorates. The report sets out the case for councils to use their democratic legitimacy, informal power and role as ‘place-shapers’ to champion better outcomes for all the children and young people in their place. It makes the case for a renewed programme of workforce reform, strong mechanisms for sector-led improvement and new, localist assurance mechanisms to encourage and support innovation. Finally, it asks the sector and Government to consider how deregulation would enable councils to take a truly ‘whole place’ approach to children and families issues.

  • Middle Managers: Dinosaurs or Key Innovation Allies?

    This report looks at middle managers’ views on contributing to change, and how they see their own role in developing innovations. It stresses the importance of councils having a more considered and strategic approach to new developments, with clear priority areas for major innovations. It also outlines middle managers’ desire for politicians and senior managers to lead for change.

  • Local Roots to Growth

    This Solace policy report states that councils must lead in shaping the local economy to ensure that the right type of growth is delivered sustainably. They must be brave in long-term planning and investment in infrastructure and skills to ensure that the conditions are right for businesses to flourish and residents to live. However, the localism rhetoric must turn to reality, giving councils real influence over local finance to borrow, spend and earn with greater freedom. And with all of this, effective integration is vital: skills must be developed for local businesses, support must be granted across sectors and infrastructure must be invested in to let businesses see the value of our local economies.

  • What Local Government Needs to Know about Local Government in the Digital Age

    The Local Government Knowledge Navigator has published the third report in the 'need to know' series on 'Local Government in the Digital Age'. This report provides a digest of what social science research is currently available, identifies major themes, and provides a critical commentary on how these can help investment decisions. The review summarises and signposts available research and evidence of good practice that has relevance to inform local government policy and practice in relation to supporting Local Government in the Digital Age. This a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and steered jointly with Solace and the LGA.

  • Solace Past Presidents 40th Anniversary Pamphlet

    This pamphlet comprises of articles from former Solace Presidents reflecting on the last four decades and what can be learnt for the future. Each article contains personal insights about what local government looked like during the author’s tenure, how the sector has since developed, what has been lost and gained, and what this might teach us.

  • What Local Government Needs to Know about Public Health

    The Local Government Knowledge Navigator has published the second report in the 'need to know' series on 'What Local Government Needs to Know about Public Health'. This report provides a digest of what social science research is currently available, identifies major themes, and provides a critical commentary on how these can help investment decisions. The research reviewed may be used to inform health and wellbeing strategies and action plans to tackle the health gap between social groups, adapting it to local contexts. This a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and steered jointly with Solace and the LGA.

  • What Local Government Needs to Know about People with Learning Disabilities

    The Local Government Knowledge Navigator has published the first report in the 'need to know' series on 'What Local Government Needs to Know about People with Learning Disabilities'. This report provides a digest of what social science research is currently available, identifies major themes, and provides a critical commentary on how these can help investment decisions. The research reviewed will help local authorities to understand the key issues experienced by people with learning disabilities, what current and future demand for services may look like and how public services can help support people with learning disabilities. This is a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and steered jointly with Solace and the LGA.

  • Delivering Differently

    In partnership with DCLG, Cabinet Office and the LGA, Solace are encouraging applications for the Delivering Differently Campaign fund, which has been set up to look at service delivery in a different way and innovate with models they have not considered before. Successful applicants will have access to a portion of the £1m fund and tailored professional support in determining the right service model and how to implement it; looking at delivery through VCSE groups, public service mutuals and joint partnerships. As well as helping to shape the programme, Solace will be part of the evaluation panel for the application process. See an introductory letter here and download the expression of interest form here. For information on the January workshop, click here.

  • Risk Engineering

    Organisations today operate in an increasingly complex and challenging risk environment. Armed with decades of expertise and the latest tools to assess risk, Zurich Municipal’s Risk Engineering team aims to help customers achieve their goals by targeting risk management programmes that will have the greatest impact on minimising the total cost of risk. View this guide for more information on how your organisation might benefit from risk engineering services.

  • Evolution to Revolution

    In 2013 Zurich Municipal (in association with Solace) interviewed a small selection of CEOs and senior managers from divergent local authority areas on where they were, where they wanted to be and the threats and opportunities associated with getting there. In their first ‘pilot’ report of this kind, Zurich Municipal outline how the senior managers describe their reality and how their experiences and aspirations may inspire yours.

  • Zurich Municipal Flood Guide

    Building on lessons learned from the significant flooding we have experienced in recent years, Zurich Municipal have produced a Flood Guide that aims to provide useful, straightforward advice for homeowners on preparing for a flood, acting in the event and beginning recovery.

  • Quiet revolution - An examination of how local authorities could be using online technologies to increase engagement with residents

    This report by Anna Farney, a participant on Solace Springboard 2012, considers how digital technology and social media is useful to local authorities. It aims to demonstrate it is imperative that councils embrace the possibilties offered by these new channels of communication. Through examples of best practice across the UK, operational and strategic considerations and pitfalls to avoid, this project tries to establish how social media can be successfully used in practice. It concludes with considerations and a ‘ready-made’ plan of what to do next to embed social media in everyday work.

  • Benchmarking for Improvement - Solace Foundation Imprint Pamphlet

    Produced by the Solace Foundation with support from ESRC and Forum of Federations, this collection brings together academics and practitioners from a variety of locations to tell the story of how public services can and should do better. Based on analysis from work streams in the UK and Canada, this pamphlet offers a depth of knowledge and best practice on a global scale.

  • Supplementary advice on the Ofsted Single Inspection Framework

    This short document offers supplementary advice on approaching inspections under the new Ofsted framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers (the single inspection framework). It is intended to be read in conjunction with the joint Solace/LGA/ADCS publication on 'Lessons from the Single Inspection Pilots'. The document was produced by Mark Rogers, President of Solace and Chief Executive of Solihull MBC - a pilot authority for the new inspection framework.

  • Lessons from the Single Inspection Pilots

    This booklet, produced by ADCS, Solace and the LGA, shares learning from the local authorities who piloted the new Ofsted framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers (the single inspection framework). It oulines a few key observations from these pilots intended to help local authorities prepare for and participate in the inspections.

  • Macmillan Cancer Support Report

    Macmillan Cancer Support has produced a new report of current research insights into the social care needs of people affected by cancer. The report looks both at people who have had a diagnosis of cancer and those who care for them, and finds that many people have significant unmet social care needs including emotional and financial support. Macmillan has now commissioned large scale research with agency MRUK, to determine the scale of unmet social care needs in people affected by cancer. The research is due to be published in March 2014. To discuss the report or research further please contact Tes Smith, Social Care Programme Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support.

  • Building Trust Action Plan - Solace report on reputation

    Produced by Solace in partnership with LGcommunications and the LGC, this report builds on previous reputation work that has been done to incorporate individual leadership of place along with that of our individual organisations. It looks at how local government has used communication in the pursuit of its goals and analyses what has worked. It presents a set of strategic recommendations that will form the basis for effective and efficient communication practice going forward. The executive summary can be accessed here.

  • Asking the Right Questions - Solace report on leadership skills

    This report identifies new ‘contextual’ skills that require Chief Executives to lead their communities, be entrepreneurial, innovative and motivational during difficult times. All of these skills themselves will need to be underpinned by a set of explicit values, attitudes and behaviours and good political understanding skills. The ‘Asking The Right Questions’ report was produced on the back of research by Skills for Local Government, in partnership with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace) and the Local Government Association (LGA). The report is already being used by Solace to consider how they support Chief Executives in developing these skills.

  • Principles for Health and Social Care Reform

    This report, produced by Solace, seeks to outline the Society’s view on the future principles which should underpin health and social care reform. Informed by a survey of Solace members, alongside interviews with some key sector figures, the report makes the case for a twenty-first century wellbeing system which takes a holistic view of health and care needs. It argues that local authorities have central functions in market making, safeguarding and quality assurance – as well as making the case for an underpinning role for the local government as the system leader for locally integrated health and care services.

  • Welcome to Civica Town

    Civica is a market leader in IT systems and business process services working throughout local government in the UK and internationally. Through experienced people who understand service delivery, we apply software, managed services and specialist outsourcing to help authorities to transform the way they work.

  • The Council Role In School Improvement: Case Studies Of Emerging Models

    This report, jointly produced by SOLACE and the LGA to coincide with the new Ofsted inspection regime for council school improvement support services, showcases the good work being done by local authorities up and down the country to support school improvement. These case studies demonstrate how local authorities are adapting to the changing educational context of increasing school autonomy by strengthening and deepening their relationships with local schools. They show that a wide variety of models are developing, ranging from 'stand-alone' improvement services jointly operated with schools; to a system wherein councils continue to provide a comprehensive range of traded services through ensuring that these more closely match the needs of local schools.

  • People Work With Extra Confidence Knowing Their Data Is Secure

    No organisation wants to attract headlines by losing date through a laptop or memory stick mishap. Glasgow City Council made the news over a security and loss of data issue. Information Security Manager Donald Crombie was in need of a big solution to safeguard the contents of thousands of PCs and Apple Macs across Edinburgh City Council and the city's schools at a time of intense budgetary pressure. In this case study report, our strategic partners BT detail how they rolled out encryption software across some 8,000 computers at an affordable rate in order to tackle Donald's challenge.

  • Building Trust Consultation Report June 2013

    LGComms, SOLACE and the LGA recently jointly launched the Building Trust consultation on increasing public faith in local government through means other than reputation campaigns. This consultation reflects our shared belief that local authority leaders are uniquely well-placed to lead the nation out of this period of dangerously truncated trust in public institutions, but that this will be achieved through improving the reputation of whole local places and not just council brands. This report sets out in some detail the premise and aims of the Building Trust initiative as well as the topics and questions on which we are seeking members’ views. Information on how to take part in this consultation can be found on page 5.

  • Queen’s Speech Briefing May 2013

    This briefing contains a summary of key points for local government and SOLACE members raised by Her Majesty in today’s Queen’s speech to both Houses of Parliament.

  • SOLACE Springboard Report: Year of Transition- Gearing Up for Public Health in West Midlands’ Councils April 2013

    Public health is often quoted as being the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organised efforts of society. This report by SOLACE Springboard participant Sarah Hinksman explores the preparatory actions taken by local authorities in advance of the transfer of public health delivery from the NHS to local government.

  • Future Leadership Requirements for Existing and Future Local Authority Chief Executives: Report on Survey and Masterclass Findings March 2013

    This report summarises the findings of a survey conducted of members of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) regarding the future leadership requirements of local authority Chief Executives. This survey covered existing elements of the Chief Executive’s role and how these may change in the future. The report also covers the discussions held at a SOLACE master class event at which the initial findings of the survey were considered.

  • Adopter Recruitment, Assessment and Approval: LGA, SOLACE and ADCS Commitments to a Sector-Defined Approach to Increasing the Number of Approved Adopters March 2013

    The swift and successful adoption of children looked after by local authorities has been the subject of significant national political and media attention over the last two years or so. The Secretary of State for Education has expressed dissatisfaction with the numbers of children who are adopted, and the time it takes for an adoptive family to be found once the decision has been made that a child should be adopted. LGA, SOLACE and ADCS agree that there is an urgent need to increase the numbers of approved adopters in order to meet existing and forecasted demand. To that end, our respective associations have each made a set of commitments to address the shortfall of adopters and the small scale at which some local authority adoption agencies operate in the recruitment, assessment and approval of adopters.

  • Localism: Rhetoric or Reality? March 2013

    All of the content posted on the SOLACE Foundation Local Leadership Hub on the theme of Localism: Rhetoric or Reality? – including articles by Carolyn Downs on the necessity of cross-sector partnerships and Graham Allen MP on the 'Magna Carta campaign' for independent local government – in a single PDF collection.

  • When the Salami’s Gone: SOLACE Guide to Commissioning and Sourcing December 2012

    Against the background of the harshest financial climate in over a generation, local politicians, chief executives and senior managers are delivering dramatic financial savings while working to minimise the adverse impact on local communities. Salami-slicing of budgets is no longer enough. Instead, they are reinventing not just the way services are delivered, but the role of local government and its relationships with its citizens. Key to these changes are commissioning and sourcing – working with communities to identify how to meet priority needs within the resources available and putting in place the most cost effective service delivery models. This guide provides an insider's view into what commissioning and sourcing mean to local authorities. It sets out to demystify what is still a developing field; takes a hard and dispassionate look at current trends; and provides advice on the ingredients of success.

  • Quality Surveillance Groups: Briefing for Local Government Chief Executives and Directors December 2012

    On 13 November 2012, Dr Paul Watson, Regional Director, Midlands and East NHS Commissioning Board, wrote to all local authority Chief Executives explaining that a network of Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs) is being established across the country and seeking local government’s support in piloting the QSG model. This joint statement from SOLACE (The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers), the LGA (Local Government Association) and ADASS (The Association for Directors of Adult Social Services) explains the key facts about QSGs and provides a view on how local authorities should seek to engage with QSGs locally.

  • Towards Excellence in Social Care: Progress with Adult Social Care Priorities England 2011/12 October 2012

    This report aims to inform and support improvement in adult social care, and offers an overview of the progress of councils in England towards better care and support. It is a step on the way to more comprehensive knowledge and insight about needs, services and support for the whole population. At present, only limited evidence is available in standardised form to demonstrate progress with improvements and the challenges of transformation. This report draws on a limited range of statistics to identify some aspects of progress and challenges for councils, but more often highlights the need for further enquiry.

  • The Reform of Adult Social Care and Support: A Guide for Council Leaders and Chief Executives October 2012

    Following the recent publication of the government’s care and support white paper, draft bill and progress report on funding, the debate about the future of adult social care and support has gathered further momentum and assumed a clearer direction of travel. In the context of demographic pressures, reduced budgets and rising expectations, the Local Government Association (LGA), SOLACE (the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) and ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) have committed to work together to ensure that a strong and united local government voice helps inform and shape this crucial agenda. As part of this commitment we have jointly produced this guide, which sets out:

    - How we have got to where we are
    - The main features of the recent white paper, draft bill and progress report on funding
    - An initial identification of some of the key issues councils may want to think about as they begin to consider implementation
    - What we are doing next and how you can feed into our work

  • SOLACE response to the Draft Care and Support Bill October 2012

    This response to the draft care and support bill is submitted jointly between the Local Government Association (LGA) and SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers). Notwithstanding our overall support for the bill, the intended direction of travel as set out in the care and support white paper and the proposed modern legal framework, we have a number of concerns which this document details. These fall into three broad categories:

    a. Matters of overall approach, including resources and funding.
    b. Issues of scope.
    c. Matters of detail.

  • Leading Change Successfully: Five Questions Every Chief Executive Should Ask October 2012

    Despite the years of austerity, the most adaptive organisations will not just survive, but prosper. Excellent leadership of change is needed, alongside excellent service delivery. Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and political leaders need to run organisations in which increasingly radical change initiatives can thrive. CEOs and senior officers also need to play the role of the ‘Senior Responsible Officer’ (SRO), the visible and accountable leader of specific programmes of change. Five questions every Chief Executive should ask about leading change draws on real experiences of leading transformation and innovation. CEOs and SROs will find practical tips and further resources to strengthen their leadership of change.

  • Towards a SOLACE Response to Dilnot: A Discussion Paper April 2012

    This briefing note provides a background to the reforms proposed by Andrew Dilnot in his report Fairer Care Funding and sets out some key questions for consultation with members.

  • Filling the Gap: The Championing Role of English Councils in Education April 2012

    This document enters SOLACE formally into the vigorous, sometimes acrimonious, occasionally uplifting debate surrounding the Coalition Government’s approach to learning and teaching. It is a call to action issued to Chief Executives and Senior Managers to ensure that, collectively, we: i) continue to demonstrate our commitment to keeping Councils central to the pursuit of educational excellence to secure the best outcomes for our communities; and ii) visibly lead and actively shape the policy and implementation landscapes of the coming months and years.

  • Briefing on Government Amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill February 2012

    The Government has tabled new amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill ahead of its report stage in the Lords, which commences next Wednesday 8 February. This briefing note highlights the main areas of direct relevance to local authorities.

  • Briefing on Police and Crime Commissioners and Police and Crime Panels December 2011

    This briefing note provides information about the implications of The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 for authorities in England only.

  • Localism and the National Planning Policy Framework: Some Implications for Local Government November 2011

    The Government is making some significant changes to the planning system that will affect the responsibilities of all local planning authorities. The intention is to make the planning system one that better supports sustainable economic growth and jobs, underpinned with the principles of localism, with less ‘top-down’ prescription and more ‘bottom up’ involvement. This document aims to give chief executives a brief overview of the significant changes to the planning system and the implications of the changes.

  • Briefing on Public Services (Social Value) Bill November 2011

    This Briefing summarises key implications for local government of the Public Services (Social Value) Bill, introduced in 2010 by Chris White MP. The Bill, originally introduced as the Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill, reaches its Report stage in the Commons on 25th November 2011. To date the Bill has received broad cross party support on its passage through Parliament and could receive Royal Assent as early as May 2012.

  • SOLACE Statement on the Role of Chief Executive October 2011

    SOLACE believes that the role of the Chief Executive is special and unique. It is, however, not well understood by those who have not been a Chief Executive or have not worked closely with one. Whilst there is no easy formula for defining the role – what works in one council, or with one Leader, may not be as effective in another – this statement highlights a number of points which should be taken into consideration when reviewing the number and seniority of members of the Council’s Senior Management Team.

  • New Finance for a New World October 2011

    Produced with BDO, on how local government can harness social investment for social goals. The research demonstrated that there is a great deal that local government can do to support and harness social investment for local benefit. This will not be easy, and requires a different conception of local government’s role and how it operates. However in the current climate of economic and political pressure, all local authorities should be learning from innovative pilot schemes, and considering what social investment might offer their own communities.

  • Open Public Services White Paper SOLACE Briefing Note August 2011

    This briefing note summarises the implications of local government of the Open Public Services White Paper, the overarching aim of which is to give residents more freedom, more choice and more control over the services they receive through the opening up of public services.

  • The Local Government Resource Review: SOLACE Briefing Note July 2011

    This briefing note provides information about the first phase of the Government’s Local Government Resource Review. The consultation document published by the Government sets out proposals for the retention of business rates and the implementation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF). These proposals form part of a wider programme of reform, the second phase of which will focus on community budgets.

  • Fighting Fraud Locally April 2011

    A PowerPoint presentation by the National Fraud Authority on the Local Government Fraud Strategy.

  • Leading the Fight against Fraud- a Local Government perspective April 2011

    A PowerPoint presentation by Martin Smith, Chief Executive, Ealing London Borough Council, on the fight against fraud.

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