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 are available to download on this page.

  • 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.