By Andy Allsopp, LGcomms Chair
The traditional end-of-year blog is simply a nice opportunity to underline what LGcomms has achieved during 2023. And to begin to look forward to some of the challenges ahead.
A few weeks ago, I wrote to our executive committee with a heady sense of achievement, following a really successful Academy event in Sheffield.
In a time of renewed austerity for public services, our membership and finances are in a good place.
Membership, in particular, is much healthier compared to where we were a year ago. Remembering that pressures on local government and public sector finances have reached new levels, we end 2023 in a much stronger position than we began it.
We’re not complacent though. In the new year, and alongside our partners the LGA, we begin work to expand our presence and our offer in regions where we’ve historically had lower membership and participation. And we start in the North-East.
We’ve also opened up new dialogues with colleagues in Wales and Scotland. And following Academy, there is interest from other regions, notably the South-West, in hosting events. But there is more listening to do and more work to do in every region.
Building our membership brings with it new expectations and demands from members which in and of itself is a good thing. We need to stay relevant.
In January we’ll be holding our first seminar of 2024, and doing so in person when we’ll be covering all things elections in a masterclass in the great City of York.
In respect of new things, and with the support of our commercial partner e-shot, we will be moving to a new email platform in the New Year. We’ll also be introducing a new, bespoke discussion area – a ‘safe space’ if you will – via our website for all members.
Future Leaders, our flagship professional development programme, also continues to go from strength to strength.
So, a successful year, and an organisation in good health – given the challenges which 2024 will undoubtedly offer, it is good to know we’ll be starting from a position of strength.