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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Laird

Radical Reformers ep.62: Solace Summit 2023 special episode

Solace Summit 2023 special episode - live from Birmingham





Last week, Andrew attended the #Solacesummit2023 in Birmingham. In collaboration with the Solace team, he recorded a podcast episode to try and capture some of the key themes and takeaways from the day.


Regular listeners will know we did something similar at the New Local #Strongerthings conference earlier in the year (you can find that episode on the podcast site). As then, the result is a series of mini-interviews with some of the stars of the day and provides a great summary of the main discussion points.


Solace Summits are focused on personal development so there is a lot on how leaders make time for reflection and development. But we also get into some of the challenging issues of the day including playing a leadership role in a council which is under intervention and supporting local residents with the cost-of-living crisis.


Interviewees include:


- Adele Taylor, Executive Director of Finance and Commercial, Slough Borough Council - Sophie Hosking, Strategic Director – Neighbourhoods, Cornwall Council - Hal Khanom, Head of Strategy and Community Participation, London Borough of Barnet - Ruth Du Plessis, Director of Public Health, St Helen’s Council - Rob Powell, Executive Director for Resources, Warwickshire County Council - Allison Thomas, Chief Executive, North West Leicestershire District Council


Finally, Andrew spent some time with Solace Managing Director, Graeme McDonald reflecting on the conference and what he hopes people took away from it. One immediate reflection was that despite all the pressure the local government sector is under, the leaders and future leaders at the summit were resilient and determined to do the best they can for the communities they serve. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.


It’s all very inspiring stuff. Speaking of inspiring, one of the keynote speakers on the day was the inspiring John Amaechi. So as well as reflecting on the discussions with the interviewees, Andrew also talks about on the important messages from John on equality and diversity.


I hope you enjoy it!



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