Graeme McDonald

Graeme McDonald

Director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Tackling the social care workforce crisis

    14 September 2021

    When it comes to social care Solace believes we need a more strategic and sustainably funded approach to talent development specifically, and workforce, more generally, says Graeme McDonald.


  • What we will need from the leaders of the future?

    02 August 2021

    There are increasing challenges in filling senior positions across the public sector including local government, says Graeme McDonald. We must make the environment safe for open communication about challenges, concerns and opportunities, he adds.


  • We must stop the Treasury tail wagging the Government dog

    23 June 2021

    Graeme McDonald senses 'much of Whitehall has a greater understanding of our challenges than for many years, but is handcuffed by the inflexible, rigid approach imposed by a shortsighted Exchequer'.


  • Let's continue to open national politicians’ and civil servants’ eyes to the potential of local government

    12 May 2021

    Writing in advance of the Queen's Speech, Graeme McDonald wondered if it would set up a new relationship between Whitehall and councils. or leave local government fighting for relevance within a Westminster-imposed straightjacket.


  • The importance of data and networks in advancing racial equality

    30 March 2021

    Over the last six months Graeme McDonald has been a commissioner on Tower Hamlets’ Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission. What stuck out for him in the recommendations from the final report?


  • Tapping into public sector talent

    17 February 2021

    As a growing number of public sector leaders step down, Graeme McDonald urges local government to seize this opportunity to grasp more diverse talent for the future


  • Calling a halt to sinking standards

    25 January 2021

    It is two years since the Committee for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) published its report, Local Government Ethical Standards. But the Government ‘has yet to respond or seemingly start work on implementing recommendations’, says Graeme McDonald.


  • Let's begin to forge a new model of the state

    15 December 2020

    Joanne Roney becomes the new president of Solace from 1 January. Graeme McDonald says that at the centre of the agenda 'will be the need to tackle inequality – between people or places, in funding, or in the distribution of power'.


  • Local government will continue to move mountains

    02 November 2020

    Those working in the sector will be pushing themselves to breaking point to get through a difficult winter, says Graeme McDonald. 'During this time, we must also look after ourselves and our colleagues', he adds.


  • Now is the time to reflect, reset and reimagine the future of local government

    22 September 2020

    It's all too easy to paint a bleak picture where local government professionals become the administrators of decline, says Graeme McDonald. But we should remain optimistic, as 'COVID has seen councils across the UK repeatedly step up to deliver'.


  • Capping the pace of change

    10 August 2020

    While one part of central government is local for reorganisation and modernisation, the other cuts exit payments and blocks a major way to drive the pace of change, says Graeme McDonald.


  • Examining the forces that push problems downstream

    01 July 2020

    The pandemic has created opportunities for learning, renewal, and new, better responses, says Graeme McDonald. The pro-early intervention arguments appear to many mere common sense, so why is investing early so difficult, he asks.


  • Difficult questions lie ahead for Government and the sector

    19 May 2020

    Graeme McDonald says we have some important decisions to make and a challenging new future to plan for. Will Westminster fulfil its promises and cover the full cost of the crisis for local councils?


  • Our role will be refocused around resilience

    06 April 2020

    Beyond the initial emergency response, we must ensure communities can emerge and re-establish themselves strengthened and renewed, says Graeme McDonald.


  • Infrastructure means more than counting cranes

    25 February 2020

    Local government and wider public services have a challenge, says Graeme McDonald. How do we ensure investment in immediate preventative activities is able to compete for finite resources with investment in tangible 'bricks and mortar' projects?


  • Who do public servants owe their loyalty to?

    15 January 2020

    Public servants' role in stewardship of institutions, publicly defining fact and sharing advice, needs updating to take account of our very different world, argues Graeme McDonald.


  • What will Boris do next?

    17 December 2019

    The new Government will need the sector’s help if it is to stand a chance of delivering the party’s ambitious domestic agenda, says Graeme McDonald. 'But the sector can only help if it is operating from a position of strength'.


  • We have 'gone backwards in some respects' on diversity

    29 October 2019

    In some respects the diversity of senior management in local government has gone backwards, says Graeme McDonald - and the result is 'a terrible waste of talent' in an era of recruitment shortages.


  • We have the power to engage people constructively in local climate emergency solutions

    23 September 2019

    Graeme McDonald says the positive engagement and diversity at a Solace roundtable exploring what role the organisation might play in the climate emergency agenda 'really filled me with energy'.


  • Public servants must work together to navigate turbulent times

    14 August 2019

    Graeme McDonald says the uncertain political waters we're in require greater emphasis on the need for genuine collaboration and on resisting the temptation to become entrenched in our organisational perspectives.