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Anniversary Hub

Anniversary Hub

Celebrate with us

As we commemorate half a century of achievements and milestones, we invite you to explore a wealth of content that reflects our journey and vision for the future. We hope you find these resources both entertaining and informative. Moreover, we extend a warm invitation for you to join us at the events and celebrate with us in person. Your presence would truly make our celebrations even more special!

About

A Brief History of Solace

Before the significant reorganisation of local government in 1974, the UK’s local governance landscape was structured differently, reflecting a historical evolution that dated back many decades. Two key organisations that played vital roles in this pre-1974 era were the Society of Town Clerks and the Society of County Clerks.

Both societies provided platforms for networking, knowledge sharing, and professional development among their members, contributing significantly to the efficient functioning of local government entities before the reorganisation of 1974. Their longstanding presence and contributions underscored the rich history and evolution of local governance in the UK.

In 1974, a significant reorganisation of Local Government occurred following the release of the Baines Report. This restructuring brought about substantial changes to the shape and structures of Local Government management, leading to the amalgamation of two key societies: The Society of Town Clerks and the Society of County Clerks. This union resulted in the establishment of a new entity known as the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (Solace).

Solace was founded as the representative body for Chief Executives and senior managers across all UK local authorities and related organisations. The inaugural President of Solace was Sir John Boynton, who served as the first Chief Executive of the newly formed Cheshire County Council. This marked a pivotal moment in local governance, ushering in an era of collaborative leadership and professional representation within the sector.

Throughout its history, Solace has witnessed several milestone events that shaped its trajectory. Notably, in 1966, Pamela Gordon became the first female President of Solace, marking a significant step towards diversity and inclusivity in leadership roles. Similarly, Pamela Gordon made history as the first female Chief Executive of a London Borough Hackney LBC and later in 1989 the first female chief executive of a Metropolitan authority, Sheffield City Council, (read Pamela’s contribution to our Rewind report) paving the way for more women to take on leadership roles within the sector.

In 1996, Solace Enterprises (now Solace in Business) was first incorporated under the umbrella of Solace, reflecting the organisation’s commitment to supporting professional development and business excellence among its members. Solace’s evolution mirrored the development of the sector and the growing role of chief executives as strategic leaders within local government. This transformation aligned with broader shifts in public administration, emphasising efficiency, accountability, and community engagement.

Solace Rewind Report

Special Anniversary Reports

To mark our momentous 50th anniversary, Solace is pleased to announce the production of three exclusive and collectable reports. These reports offer a unique journey through the past, present, and future of local government in the UK.

Our first publication REWIND is out now with contributions from:

Sir Michael Lyons / Matt Prosser / Sir Rodney Brooke CBE DL / Barry Quirk CBE / Pamela Gordon / Wallace Sampson OBE / Rob Whiteman CBE / Kersten England CBE / Desmond ‘Dessie’ Mitchell MBE / Eleanor Kelly / Carolyn Wilkins OBE / Fiona Lees / Eamonn Boylan OBE / Byron Davies OBE / Jacqui Dixon MBE / Joyce Redfearn / Sir Derek Myers / Mark Rogers / Dwayne Johnson / Sally Loudon OBE



REWIND

Out Now

Unlock a wealth of insights with our exclusive Rewind report. Explore the evolution of the council chief executive role with expert contributions from some of the biggest names in local government.

Rewind Report



PLAY

Comming this Summer

Gain a comprehensive understanding of our current landscape with contributions from all local government’s key policy areas. This report highlights key actions and strategies essential for the next government's agenda.



FAST FORWARD

Coming this Autumn

Join us as we peer into the future of local government and uncover what lies ahead. This report delves into upcoming challenges, opportunities, and innovative strategies shaping the path forward.

In the press

Pamela-Gordon

Pamela Gordon: Breaking the glass ceiling at the top of local government

Pamela Gordon, the first female president of Solace, reflects on her career breaking gender barriers in local government leadership.

Read the article

Kersten England

Kersten England: Five key roles for chiefs in fostering community cohesion

This article explores how local leaders can build stronger connections between different groups in their communities, promoting a sense of belonging and well-being for all.

Read the article

Rob Whiteman

Solace at 50

This article commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace) examining how local government has changed throughout the years, particularly regarding finances and leadership.

Read the article

Special Anniversary Events

Solace’s 50th Anniversary Dinner

21 March 2024, Banqueting House, Whitehall

Step inside the iconic Banqueting House in London for the unforgettable 50th Anniversary Dinner in celebration of Solace. This event was a rare opportunity for hardworking public servants to bask in well-deserved recognition for their essential yet often unseen contributions. Amidst the historical splendour beneath the Reuben’s ceiling, President Matt Prosser delivered an inspiring speech that resonated with the spirit of dedication and resilience. Guests were treated not only to a feast for the eyes but also to a delicious meal, making this milestone celebration a blend of appreciation, camaraderie, and shared triumphs in service to our communities.



Solace's 50th Anniversary BBQ Party

DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel, Harrogate
2 July 2024



Solace Summit

The Point, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
17–18 October 2024

Regional Showcase Events

Join us as we mark the 50th Anniversary of Solace by celebrating the incredible work of those who tirelessly serve alongside their communities. Discover knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices at our nationwide events, connecting with experts and shaping the future of public service. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of our dynamic community and make an impact on your career and the public service sector.

Yorkshire & Humber

11 June 2024

Find out more

North West

North East

East of England

East Midlands

7 February 2024

West Midlands

South East

South West

London

Scotland

Wales

August 2024

Northern Ireland

18 September 2024

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