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Rogers: Chiefs have left 'pseudo-submissiveness' behind

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Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles “has run his course and some”, the president of Solace has said.

Mark Rogers said councils were “no longer intimidated” by the secretary of state, and were starting to become more vocal about their achievements.

During his closing speech at the Solace conference in Liverpool, Mr Rogers said: “It seems to me that we have definitely left the characteristics of pseudo-submissiveness behind us.

“I think Eric [Pickles] has run his course and some, and we are no longer intimidated, or whatever word might be inappropriate to use, about coming out and celebrating our successes, our achievements, and sharing and learning. So I definitely think our submissive phase has gone.”

Mr Rogers said there has been a mood shift within local government.

He said: “I have started to detect…a sense of impatience, intolerance, frustrations, and some irritations not just about the external environment we interact with locally, regionally and nationally but actually among ourselves.”

Mr Rogers expressed frustration that “we still, too many of us, only learn from failure when failure rocks along”.

He added: “That may annoy you, may even offend you, but we still see too much among our own peer group and wider organisations and partners an abdication of responsibility by waiting for something to happen that makes us wake up.”

Mr Rogers said “values and ethics” were important to him and to the Solace membership, and added that the society should be “gritty” and “holding a mirror up” to its members.

He said he was “pleased” to have greater involvement from more members on the policy board due to Solace’s constitutional changes. However, he added, “we need more”.

“We need to broaden out the engagement because we need to speak as one and to do that you need to know all of the voices,” he said.

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