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.

  • 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.

  • Building a Safe and Confident Future: One Year On- Progress Report from the Social Work Reform Board December 2010

    A year ago the Social Work Reform Board’s final report was published to strong and widespread support. The Task Force recognised that translating its fifteen recommendations into action to create a safe, confident future for social work would require sustained effort from many people and organisations. This report marks a staging post in the journey of social work reform but the proposals within it provide a foundation for helping us, together, to deliver a better future for social work.

  • Presentation by the IFS for SOLACE on the aftermath of the Comprehensive Spending Review November 2010

    A PowerPoint presentation on the topic Disease and cure in the UK: The fiscal impact of the crisis and the policy response.

  • Rebalancing the Public Finances: The End of the Beginning… October 2010

    In December 2009, CIPFA and SOLACE published a joint report, After the Downturn, which explored three strategic options for the Government and public services in achieving the major and sustained spending cuts that would be necessary to rebalance the public finances. This further report assesses how those three options have been explored in the coalition Government’s first months.

  • Whose Stupid Idea Was That? Questions for Senior Managers to Consider Before Consultations July 2010

    This report explores the questions that senior managers should ask when undertaking consultation exercises in the politically complex environment of a UK local authority.

  • What All Chief Executives Must Ask About Their Website April 2010

    Q1 How much do failed website visits cost your council?
    Q2 What proportion of council enquiries now come in via your website?
    Q3 What are the top tasks that people want to carry out on your website?

    For answers to these, and a few other important questions...

  • SOLACE/CIPFA Budget Response March 2010

    Immediately following the Pre-Budget Report in December 2009, CIPFA and SOLACE published After the Downturn, a major report exploring both the scale of spending reductions required to rebalance the UK public finances and the strategies available to Government and public service organisations to deal with them. This briefing updates the economic analysis in the light of the 2010 Budget Statement and revisits and confirms the continuing relevance of After the Downturn’s conclusions. In particular, very significant decisions about cuts in public spending will need to be made following the General Election.

  • Social Work Reform Board SOLACE Briefing January 2010

    This briefing note from SOLACE Children and Education policy lead Mark Rogers provides an update on the engagement of SOLACE and the local government sector more broadly with the Social Work Task Force. This Task Force was set up at the beginning of 2009 to bring forward recommendations on the reform of social work to ensure its future fitness for purpose.

  • After the Downturn: Managing a Significant and Sustained Adjustment in Public Sector Funding December 2009

    This paper, prepared by CIPFA and SOLACE, and informed by a much wider cross-section of public sector professionals, explores some of the key questions which political parties in 2010 must answer regarding public spending cuts. It analyses three strategic options for the Government and public services in achieving the major and sustained spending cuts that will be necessary to rebalance the public finances.

  • Regulation and Inspection- What is to be Done? August 2009

    At its last meeting the SOLACE Management Board asked for some thoughts on what a long-term piece of work on regulation might encompass and how we might approach it. This paper scopes what the content of such a piece of work might look like but does not explore options for delivery.

  • The Role of Local Authorities in Addressing Human Trafficking July 2009

    This SOLACE report explores how local authorities can improve their response to the crime of human trafficking, in particular in the area of identifying and assisting victims. It draws on the work of the SOLACE Study Group on Human Trafficking who studied the response of Local Authorities across Europe to human trafficking and identified relevant practice examples for the UK. The study group developed a competence and evidence framework for local authorities to assess their own performance in responding to the challenges of human trafficking. This framework identifies five core competences that local authorities need to focus upon if they are to improve their response to these challenges; this report expands upon each of these competences, demonstrating how they can be developed in practice.

  • Promoting Chief Executives 2009: Public and Private Sector Salaries June 2009

    Council chief executives have come under unprecedented attack in past months on the issue of pay. Some have been singled out but the salaries of all have been questioned. The combination of a biting recession and a small number of highly publicised increases in the money advertised when one chief leaves and another fills a rewritten role have created a toxic mix. In this guide, SOLACE has:

    - Set out the context of this attack on salaries
    - Published research clearly setting out the comparative salaries in the private and public sectors. Each group of council chief executives has been matched in terms of turnover and staff numbers against a private sector equivalent. The results are clear for all to see.
    - Listed what chief executives actually do.
    - Provided some questions SOLACE members may address before responding to the press.
    - Given some messages for press briefings and some helpful quotes.
    - Explained the Local Government Pension Scheme.

  • Stand Up to the Downturn: A Guide to Supporting Local Communities through the Downturn June 2009

    This paper brings together a range of ideas and practical steps designed to stimulate thinking and help guide action about how local government – and others – can support local families, businesses and communities to stand up to the downturn.

  • SOLACE Submission to the Committee of Standards in Public Life: ‘Constitution, Codes and Crooked Timber’ June 2009

    The shock, disbelief and anger at the expenses claims of very many MPs has served to corrode even further the fragile confidence that electors have in the British political class. At a time of great economic challenge when businesses expect the nation’s politicians to be focussed on how best to create the conditions for economic success, they are horrified that Parliament is focussed inward on its own protocols. Throughout this debacle the continual reference to ‘rule based’ conduct and the absence of any ‘values based’ code of behaviour which fosters the noblest spirit of public service has corroded confidence further. SOLACE believes public service leadership, whether of political or managerial character, stems from a wellspring of strong public service values (and private adherence to publicly espoused values) rather than the diligent following of rules. This report offers lessons for central government from local authorities’ experiences of expenses remuneration as well as our views on what must be done to rebuild public trust in politics.

  • Efficiency in Practice: Local Government Responding to the Efficiency Review June 2009

    New ways of working in local government are already delivering efficiency, savings and improved services for citizens. This report explores new approaches to leadership, efficiency, purchasing and networks developed in the wake of the Efficiency Review.

  • The SOLACE Guide to Decision Making and the Art of Giving Advice May 2009

    In local government, a lot of decisions are necessarily and rightly delegated to managers. And when politicians make decisions in local government, they do so based on the advice of managers. In this sense, managers don’t just “do”; they provide best advice on what should be done. What’s more, they not only advise the politicians who determine policy (the Mayor or the Leader & Cabinet, and the committees of the Council) they also advise those politicians who scrutinise executive decisions and the actions that flow from them. This guide offers members advice on cultivating clear decision-making and advice-giving roles as well as constructive, respectful, courteous and trusting working relationship between politicians and managers.

  • Lifting the Burdens Task Force Workshop Report and Opportunity for Input to Future Work September 2007

    This document summarises the discussions held at the SOLACE Workshop on the Lifting the Burdens Task Force which took place on the 26th of September 2007.

  • Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Guidance Note for English Authorities February 2007 

    This guidance note relates to Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework which is intended to be used as best practice for developing and maintaining a locally adopted code of governance. The purpose of this guidance note is to assist authorities in reviewing the effectiveness of their own governance arrangements by reference to best practice and using self-assessment.

  • Leadership United: Managing in a Political Environment December 2005 
    Leadership United: A Handbook of Techniques, Tools and Processes
    Executive Summary

    Good government, at all levels, is where the best of politics and management combine to be greater than the sum of the parts. The principles of good governance are universal and yet the way these principles are applied in practice can vary significantly at the different levels. This report is primarily concerned with managing effectively in the political environment at the local level. It considers how officers and members, particularly Chief Executives and Leaders of local authorities, can make sure that they work together well in the best interests of the council and the people served by the council. Some of its conclusions are, however, also relevant to other levels of government.

  • Partnerships in Procurement February 2005 
    Executive Summary

    The aim of this study is to try to understand some of the issues surrounding the emergence of multi-agency procurement partnerships, as well as trying to evaluate the current roles of the different organisations involved within these partnerships. Its second objective is to consider what their future roles might be, taking into account the opportunities as well as any potential barriers to partnership working.

  • Partnership: Chief Executive Perspectives February 2005

    This report sets out the key insights of Chief Executives interviewed on the subject of partnership, supported by selected quotations indicating strength of feeling on these matters. Topics explored include: Partnership Goals & Types; Mechanisms of Partnership Working; and Learning, Failure and Evaluation in Partnership Working.

  • Registration of Social Workers- Briefing on Implications for Employers July 2004

    To continue providing a social work service local authorities will need to employ registered Social Workers by April 2005. The deadline for applications is the 1st of December 2004 and across England currently only 1 in 10 have registered. This report explores the implications for local authorities of this new regime.

  • Partnership and Innovation July 2004

    There is a growing need for local authorities to be innovative and creative in the way they think about their organisation and the services it delivers. Local government is no longer, if it ever has been, a place where one size fits all, where there is one off-the-peg answer to the myriad problems and challenges each authority faces. Every authority needs to find the particular solution to its challenges that suits its residents and circumstances. This report contains the results of interviews conducted by SOLACE with 21 Chief Executives from councils of differing types and sizes on the structures and frameworks that trigger innovation and the role of the Chief Executive in creating those conditions.

  • The Children’s Bill: Implications for District Councils June 2004

    This briefing explores the new duties and powers for district councils legislated in the Children’s Bill as well as what district councils currently contribute to outcomes for children.

  • SOLACE and ADSS Statement on the Accountabilities of Chief Executives and Directors of Social Services in England May 2003

    The starting point for this review is our shared determination to ensure commitment to the safeguarding of children. This includes the acceptance of personal responsibility and accountability for what happens within the local delivery of services to safeguard children. SOLACE and ADSS believe that accountability has both corporate and individual dimensions and that everyone involved in the safeguarding of children is accountable for what they do, from top to bottom. Local governance and management arrangements must support and enable this. We also believe that there is the leadership role for Councils to promote the well-being of all children in a more general sense. It is within this content that this statement seeks to clarify the roles and responsibilities of Chief Executives and Directors of Social Services for safeguarding children.