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.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Lessons from the Troubled Families Evaluation – 0

By Jason Lowther, Head of Corporate Strategy, Birmingham City Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Evidence Based Policy

In barely 18 months the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) has gone from a Ministerial panacea to media allegations of wasting £1 billion.  The main lesson of this drama is that to understand whether (and, critically, where and how) a policy is working we need to get much better at local evaluation.

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New Year message from the Solace Chair – 0

By Gavin Jones, Solace Chair and Chief Executive of Essex County Council

Happy New Year colleagues!

It has been said that those who begin with certainties, will end in doubts*. Given the events of 2016, doubt seems an appropriate response as we think about what 2017 might have in store. But whilst much is unknown, there are some issues that seem certain to demand our urgent attention this year – right at the top of the list must be securing a long term solution to the care needs of our ageing population – we should make 2017 the year in which we finally identify a workable approach to what is shaping up to be the defining problem of our times. But no solution is likely to be sustainable unless we also address the country’s productivity and growth challenges as our exit from the EU begins to pick up pace. And whilst these challenges – and the many others we face - should not be underestimated, we should also begin 2017 in a spirit of optimism and with the confidence that local government has much to offer by way of solutions.

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Christmas Message from Jo Miller, Solace President – 0

By Jo Miller, Solace President and Chief Executive of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all Solace colleagues.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind since you elected me as your president two months ago and I hope you can see that I've been standing up for public service and all that we do, promoting the importance of good leadership and working with our next generation to make sure the tradition of excellent public service continues.

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Cyber resilience is not just for ICT teams – 0

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

OK colleagues, I need a favour, but more of that later…

I recently attended the LG Cyber Summit, an event jointly arranged by Central and Local Government, to consider the issue of cyber security from a Local Government perspective.  This was an important event as it not only heralded another step forward in the way that sectors and agencies are working together on this issue, but it also highlighted the threats that exist within the digital /cyber world, and how these need to be addressed. 

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Engaging Communities through Digital Transformation – 0

By Nick Williams, ‎Managing Director, Consumer Digital, Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) is a UK-focused retail and commercial bank made up of four iconic relationship brands – Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows. We have over 20 million customers and 75,000 colleagues.  12 million of our customers bank with us online, and 7 million bank with us on mobile; with our mobile channel seeing an astonishing 400% growth in 5 years. Today the proportion of customer needs met digitally by the Bank is over 60%, as we provide our customers with the opportunity to bank with us where they want to, when they want to and how they want to.

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