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31st December 2019

New Year’s Message from the President

I would like to congratulate all the local government officers and elected members who have been recognised in the New Year Honours list, recognising the outstanding achievements and dedicated service of individuals to their communities over many years.

Their recognition should instill immense pride in not only close family and friends, but the whole sector as those who have received honours showcase just a snapshot of the incredible work done right across UK local government every day.

A recent poll for the Association of Public Sector Excellence found a continuing rise in trust in local councils, while residents’ satisfaction levels with services councils deliver remaining high, according to the Local Government Association’s most recent survey.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your dedicated service to UK citizens over the last year. It has been another challenging 12 months but, as the survey results above show, officers at all levels of local government have once again successfully delivered vital services for their residents.

Whilst local government never stops, even at Christmas, I hope you all managed to find some time over the festive period to rest, recuperate and recharge.

As UK President of Solace, I will ensure that in 2020 we continue to build on the highly productive relationships we are now establishing with other sector bodies and senior Civil Servants to explore how we can further collaborate to deliver the new Government’s priorities in a way that works well for both local and national Government.

We recently polled Solace members to better understand what your policy priorities are. In addition to securing a truly sustainable settlement for the sector, the results showed that the top priorities are:

  • Securing a multi-year financial settlement;
  • Addressing the social care crisis by implementing funding reforms to stabilise the system for the long-term;
  • Embarking on a meaningful programme of reform that puts prevention at the heart of government decision-making.

I have already written to the Prime Minister about these priorities and offered Solace input to work with his Government to develop deliverable policies. Our policy spokespersons have also written to the secretaries of state relevant to their portfolio to further reinforce these messages.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and productive 2020.

Martin Swales

Solace UK President and Chief Executive of South Tyneside MBC