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.

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

Delivering the Northern Powerhouse: Economic Regeneration and Skills – 0

By Tom Stannard, Director of Economy and Skills, Oldham Council, and Solace Deputy Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity and Housing

Earlier this year I spoke at an event at Salford University on education and skills in the northern powerhouse, alongside Salford City College, New Economy, and our Chamber of Commerce in Greater Manchester.  There was a lot of interest in how we are aiming to “get on with the job” in Oldham on skills and employment and devolution, and some useful lessons to share across Solace.  On the back of this, a Prospects fringe event with myself and Jo Miller at our Summit in Gateshead this year looked at similar issues.

Read More

Countdown on to English water market opening – 0

By Jo Dow, Chief Executive, Business Stream

Last month marked a major milestone in the run-up to the English water market opening. With just six months to go until every organisation and business in England is able to switch its water supplier, the ‘shadow market’ is now in operation. The advent of competition south of the border represents arguably the biggest practical and cultural shift in the sector in modern times, akin to the changes that took place with energy deregulation in the 1990s.

Read More

Ignite: Developing leadership fit for the future – 0

By Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council and Solace Spokesperson on Leadership and Learning

Solace has done some fantastic work in ensuring that leadership potential is fostered and developed throughout our sector, developing a pipeline of Chief Executives for the future. However, in the rapidly changing landscape of local public service today, it’s vital that existing Chief Executives are equipped with the tools required for the realities of the job, and feel ready to face whatever new challenges the future holds. Even for those who feel at the top of their game, there is always room for challenge and for learning, particularly amongst peers.

Read More

Engaging people in digital transformation: Lessons from the smart meter rollout – 0

By Claire Maugham, Director of Policy & Communications, Smart Energy GB

In November, Smart Energy GB joined the Greater London Authority and the city’s Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, to represent the capital at the World Smart City Congress in Barcelona.

The focus of the congress, which attracted over 30,000 international delegates and representatives from 600 cities, was ‘cities for citizens’.

Read More

White Paper must provide a fresh vision on housing – 0

By Jonathan Turner, Partner and Head of Housing, Bevan Brittan

There were some welcome announcements from the Chancellor’s ‘first and last’ Autumn Statement – but also many unanswered questions that will be troubling local authorities and those responsible for social care.

Read More

How can we ensure that growth benefits everyone? – 0

By Paul Najsarek, Chief Executive of London Borough of Ealing

It feels like we are living in pretty tumultuous times.  I think there is some danger that recent world events get a bit over interpreted but any analysis of Brexit and the US election does raise questions about how our economy works.  For the first time for many years the policy assumption that economic growth unquestionably drives wider social good is open to debate.  At the very least we need to think about different sorts of growth and which have the most distributed benefit for all our communities.  Notwithstanding financial crises, in the last 30 years we have seen substantial growth in the world and domestic economy fuelled by trade liberalisation, technological innovation, deregulation of financial services and the fall of the Berlin Wall but we have not ended up today with all people feeling this journey has worked for them.

Read More

Life (in local government) is a risky business! – 0

By Rod Penman, Head of Sales, Zurich Municipal

Zurich Municipal has been a Lead Business Partner with Solace for a good few years now, and the mutual benefits of that active collaboration are significant. Recently Amy Brettell, Zurich Municipal’s Interim Head of Public Services and I met with two serving chief executive colleagues and Kim Ryley to share our understanding of how risk in local authorities is changing and of how emerging new trends will need to be managed effectively if financial and reputational damage is to be avoided.

Read More