Director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
United we stand
Graeme McDonald says the workforce challenges facing the sector are something that cannot be solved by councils alone, and he gives some tips on how local government can stem the tide.
Solace: Marking 50 years in local government
With all the change that has happened over 50 years it feels like the time is right for another local government reset, says Graeme McDonald.
The Autumn Statement leaves councils to solve their own problems
Few expected the King’s Speech and Autumn Statement to be the silver bullet that solved local government’s problems, says Graeme McDonald, but there is nothing to change the big picture
The only path out of our recruitment and retention crisis is investment in people
Graeme McDonald says the sector's investment in people has a way to travel to get back to the levels those now in leadership roles considered the norm when they began their careers.
Many councils are finding their own solutions in a time of crises
The media has been full of negative stories about local government, says Graeme McDonald. A more strategic, collaborative approach is desperately required if the sector is to be ready to deal with the next crisis, he argues.
Time for reflection on council failures
We should all recognise the need to improve standards in public life more broadly, not least as local government has its own failures to consider, says Graeme McDonald.
We have a major opportunity to turn the economic tide
Giving councils statutory powers over economic development alongside the right funding would bring many benefits including helping local areas to create high-quality jobs, attract investment, and turbocharge UK plc, says Graeme McDonald.
Tackling local government's leadership paradoxes
With many councils set for 'another set of politically volatile elections', Graeme McDonald turns to Legoland for inspiration on taking a visionary yet grounded approach to local government leadership.
We want to cast our recruitment net wide
Too often, recruitment specifications are narrowly focused on local government achievements, says Graeme McDonald. 'To attract and retain talent we need the landing into the sector to be far softer, especially for those coming into senior roles.'.
We need to think smarter about age
There is no silver bullet that will solve local government’s workforce challenges but thinking smarter about age must be part of the answer, says Graeme McDonald.
Finance reform is the Christmas present we need
Delays in financial settlements and an absence of multi-year settlements have some very real costs, including a reduction in the ability to reform, says Graeme McDonald.
Doing the basics right and doing them well
Those present at the Solace Summit in Birmingham relayed a sense of remarkable resilience in the face of adversity, says Graeme McDonald. 'But that is not to say we should be complacent.'
Without a standards system with teeth there is little deterrent
The appointment of a new Government presents an opportunity to refocus and set higher expectations about how those in and around local and national government, operate, says Graeme McDonald.
We need a diverse pool of talent bubbling through
As Solace continues to cast a spotlight on the lack of diversity among the senior management of local government, Graeme McDonald looks at what lessons from the political sphere could help the sector accelerate its progress.
Pausing the graduate Fast-Stream scheme could provide a real opportunity
A recent announcement by the Government – to pause the graduate Fast-Stream recruitment scheme for at least a year – could provide a real opportunity for councils and other local public sector bodies, says Graeme McDonald.
Government must rethink its approach to poor governance and behaviour in councils
Solace supports all of the Committee on Standards in Public Life report's recommendations on standards in local government, but without Government action on sanctions this will never gain the traction required, says Graeme McDonald.
Helping highly vulnerable families to recover, rebuild their lives here, and thrive
Implementing and delivering the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme will require more than just goodwill, says Graeme McDonald.
Must change always be so lacking in urgency?
Graeme McDonald says a devolution deal 'represents the very start of change, not an outcome in itself, and what is on offer in the White Paper is 'frankly pretty small beer in terms of rebalancing power'.
Trust in democracy is under threat - and local government is not immune
Solace will continue to push the Government to respond to the Committee for Standards in Public Life reports, says Graeme McDonald.
We will need the very best people if we are to ‘level up’ places
It makes little sense to have more than 500 local councils all fighting each other in the battle for talent, according to Graeme McDonald. He believes councils need a Local Leadership Academy, in line with similar bodies across the public sector.