SFI publishes popular pamphlets on major themes which are central to the concerns of senior executives, policy-makers and politicians involved in the delivery of local services. We are resolutely non-political, but we recognise and address the importance of political leadership and debate in developing public services. We publish a range of voices that pose challenges to senior public executives and politicians and we show how challenges might be met. SFI’s strength is in the range and diversity of ideas we publish because the world is more complicated that any contrived consensus—through SFI many flowers are encouraged to bloom.
SFI was established in 2005 by the SOLACE Foundation Trustees and, by April 2009, had published 27 pamphlets. These pamphlets have already had a significant impact on policy-making and the way that local services are delivered. SFI’s pamphlets are not sold but are distributed widely (controlled circulation is about 18,000 per pamphlet) and made freely available online immediately on publication. SFI’s aim is to stimulate as wide a debate as possible.
SFI’s Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief meet regularly to identify areas of prime interest and relevance on the basis of current and future trends in public policy. Sponsors are sought to support and fund pamphlets in these areas. The Chair of SFI invites an appropriate editor for each pamphlet. Editors agree contributors with Mike Bennett, who consults with pamphlet sponsors as appropriate. The SOLACE Foundation Trustees, however, have as their main concern that pamphlet authors are independent and write freely.
Role of a pamphlet editor
Pamphlet editors are appointed based on their expertise, enthusiasm and capacity to deliver within strict timescales. Editors commission 1000-word contributions from authors whose ideas will be stimulating and of interest to SFI’s readers. Editors are responsible for the variety, range, quality and accuracy of contributions. Editors are encouraged to commission a range of perspectives and opinions, including a strong representation from practitioners such as SOLACE members.
Editors are not required to delete controversial opinions but are responsible for alerting the Chair of the Editorial Board to any issues, which may have reputational impact on SFI, the wider SOLACE group and its partners. In addition, Michaela Lavender, Executive Editor, will apply a similar “sensitivity test” as part of her role as copy editor. Authors retain copyright in their contributions which must be original work.
The pamphlet editor sends contributions to the Executive Editor, Michaela Lavender, who will copy-edit as necessary and agree changes with the authors before publication. SFI does not change any contribution after the author has passed a proof for press.