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What relationship should Solace have with the politically-led Local Government Association given its claim to be the national voice of local government?

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Jo miller and trevor holden

Jo miller and trevor holden

JM: The LGA is without question the national voice of democratically elected local government and we should  support and collaborate with it. We should offer our members as advisors to work alongside and inform their board structures, enhance peer reviews. We’ve done great work together on policy formation, at conferences and in responses to government. Long may that continue.

We have a strong kinship with the LGA, but it’s not our parent, we are not its child and we need to be clear about our independence. Having been dep CX at the LGA, I know how inordinately difficult it can be at times to get an agreed political position in answer to a burning issue of the day. Solace operates free of that burden and can give an honest, public servant response which I know from experience tends to benefit the whole of the sector when done well.

 

TH: Great question! Let me be really clear: we need a strong voice for Solace which is very separate and distinct, with the ability and confidence to speak the truth to power – without fear, favour or agenda. The debate should not be one of who has primacy between Solace and the LGA as we have complimentary roles. As Solace we need to be the ‘go to’ organisation which is recognised and respected for its nonpartisan professional and informed view.  We work well with politicians on a daily basis at a local level; why should this not be the case for our national bodies? We should seek to collaborate with the LGA as part of our collective leadership responsibility to the communities we serve. I believe we should explore a ‘co-located’ conference: how powerful would it be to bring Solace members, the supply chain and political leadership together to collaborate on some of the key issues facing our sector? It absolutely drives innovation and delivery at pace, not to mention a massive sector wide saving.

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