Behind The Curtain
Last week saw the 10th Annual LGC Chief Executives Summit take place at the Crowne Plaza Marlow. Over 150 of local government’s most senior figures came together for 2 days to reflect on the biggest challenges facing the sector.
Stepping in to cover the morning session at the last minute, Emma Maier successfully drew together the contributions from our 5 key speakers and the questions and comments that whizzed their way to her via txttools.
While our delegates enjoyed a superb lunch and extended opportunity to catch up with friends and peers, we crossed-our fingers that presenting the results of a text poll wouldn’t prove too much for our AV systems. Though we were cutting it fine to get the powerpoint presentations together, all was well in the end and the afternoon started with a lively panel discussion about the future shape of local government. Rob Whiteman ably picked up the baton as afternoon Chair, guiding delegates through the range of afternoon debates.
Having broken into 4 streams to attend our partners’ workshops, delegates returned to the main room eager to hear from Tony Travers. It was at this point that the sweaty palms made a return – would Tony make it in time? As a taxi pulled up outside the hotel I rushed out and was able to escort Tony up to our conference room. With immaculate timing Tony entered the room just as Rob was starting to explain that he was never usually late and made his way to the stage during a round of applause!
Once the hurdle of an extremely complex dinner seating plan had been overcome the rest of the event was a breeze. On day 2 a range of public and private sector speakers challenged our delegates and hopefully gave them plenty of food for thought. The Summit closed with a highly informative presentation from Ben Page delivered with his usual humour.
With the conference sessions over and 100+ happy delegates on their way home, I was finally able to relax. I happily tucked into the baked camembert being served as part of our buffet lunch before dragging myself, exhausted but happy, back to London.
Church House Conference Centre saw host to this year’s NLGN Annual Conference, in partnership with LGC - a “must attend” event for senior local government figures.
Arranged in cabaret style, my first thought was “is this room going to be big enough?” A quick chair count and indeed it won’t! More chairs rushed in and suddenly we were ready to begin.
As people began to arrive, delegates, speakers and staff, we were filling up 2 exhibition rooms very quickly.
Emma Maier, Editor of LGC kicked off proceedings, slightly late at 09:40 (we blame the underground for this, not Emma) with a brief introduction of Txttools – the new way to ask your conference questions - followed by a light hearted but very informative intro from Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN.
Meanwhile, all palms clammy at registration as Caroline Spelman was due to arrive. With 4 senior Government figures due to arrive over the course of the day, we were rather at the mercy of very tight schedules and entourages of concerned PAs. Potential for our carefully timed agenda to go out of the window was worryingly high but the government gods were clearly on our side as speakers came and went with almost military precision.
Throughout the course of the day, 220 delegates, 19 speakers and 9 exhibitors shared their thoughts, fears and hopes for the future of local government, making valuable new connections, meeting old friends and drinking gallons of tea.
Twice delegates split into 3 groups to discuss different issues; from the Operational Efficiency Programme to Regeneration, Infrastructure and Investment. LGC staff did their best impressions of directional signage – ensuring 250 people got to the right room – and one group had to be prised from their discussions 20 minutes into the lunch break. Always a good sign!
The content of the day ended on a high with Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and then all that remained was to persuade people to join us for a glass of wine, courtesy of Zurich Municipal.