The All-Island Local Authority Programme is a strategic partnership comprising of Chief Executives from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, NI (SOLACE, NI) and Chief Executives from the County and City Managers’ Association (CCMA). The Local Authority Forum is the only cross-border focused Local Authority group operating at a Chief Executive level and comprises ten members. The aim of the forum is to progress and develop meaningful cross-border relationships within the local government sector by providing opportunities for co-operation on a range of issues of mutual interest to both administrations. The work of the Forum is developed through practical joint projects and the sharing of knowledge, expertise and best practice.
Vision statement: “is of strong, sustainable working relationships and shared understanding between Chief Executives and local authorities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, delivering positive outcomes for communities and places.”
Mission statement: “to support CEOs to develop leadership, advance learning and promote networking between local authorities on the island of Ireland, to maximise tangible benefits for services and local communities”.
The Local Authority Forum provides opportunities for cross-border co-operation on a range of issues of mutual interest to both administrations by facilitating collaboration of best practice, joint initiatives as well as a sharing of learning and information.
All-Island Local Authority Forum sub-groups:
- SOLACE NI/CCMA
- Climate Change
Joint SOLACE NI/CCMA
The Joint SOLACE NI/CCMA sub-group delivers an annual seminar providing a high-level networking opportunity for Local Authority Chief Executives on an all-island basis to share ideas and exchange information around a specific theme. The annual joint seminar also brings together CEOs of other cross-border organisations as well as central government personnel, North and South. In addition to addressing shared issues, the event provides opportunities for CEOs to grow networks across the island and establish collaborative links for their Councils.
The All-Island Local Authority Forum has successfully delivered the pilot programme for its new Women’s Leadership Programme – “Building the Resilience Backpack”. This is a bespoke programme for the local government sector that has been designed in conjunction with Chief Executives and Directors of local authorities, focussing on the specific issues faced by female leaders within this sector and assisting them in the development of leadership capability which is key to this specific sector. The programme was extremely successful and will run again during 2020.
The development of the programme has already resulted in the establishment of a very effective cross-border learning network amongst the participants of the first programme, which has led to the development of a further women’s leadership programme aimed at mid-career females within the local government sector.
Climate change is a defining issue of our time. It is recognised as a global challenge with the need for urgent action to tackle the mitigating causes and to adapt to the inevitable consequences of our changing climate. Many Local Authorities have adapted climate change policies or action plans to address this issue and have built up the necessary expertise and competencies within their own local authorities. Following on from discussions at Forum meetings, the Local Authority Forum has decided to establish a sub-group addressing the issue of Climate Change and its impact on and for Local Authorities.
The Forum continues to keep a very close eye on any information of specific relevance to local government in relation to the impact of Brexit. Currently any information sharing related to Brexit takes place at Forum level during quarterly meetings, and the Forum has agreed to work on Brexit as an overall group until greater clarification emerges in the coming months. At this point the Forum may establish a Brexit task group to facilitate specific outputs in this area.
Since 2017, and the establishment of the All Island Local Authority Forum’s Working Group on Philanthropy (with nominations from CCMA and SOLACE NI) the Forum has been exploring ways through which local authorities can participate more effectively in this space. The group is currently working towards an event that will examine the practicalities of establishing a foundation or trust within local authorities and help build capacity for this.