Burgess Welcomes Local Government Conference

February Local Government Conference Ahead Of Council Election

February Local Government Conference Ahead Of Council Election

  • Local Government Conference confirmed for February ahead of 2023 council elections. The 2023 Local Government Conference has been confirmed for 23 February at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh.

Rowallene Councillor Robert Burgess, deputy chairperson of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association, (NILGA), has welcomed the opportunity.

Delivered by NILGA, in partnership with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE NI), the conference will be addressed by Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and hosted by journalist and broadcaster Mark Devenport.

Newry Mourne and Down District Councillor Robert Burgess, said: “The theme of the conference is ‘Responding to Future Challenges’.

Rowallene Councillor Robert Burgess.

“The full-day event will focus on issues facing local government including financial sustainability, the climate emergency, revolutionising public services, and delivering cost effective and economical services for communities.

“The conference comes at a crucial time for local government in Northern Ireland.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic, the collapse of central government at Stormont, and the cost-of-living crisis, local government is delivering more support and services to households and communities than ever before.

“It is an opportunity for vital dialogue on how local government can deliver innovative solutions to the challenges facing councils and create a local government sector fit for the future.”

Cllr Burgess added: “This conference will explore collaboration between the private and public sector, how local government can influence wider societal outcomes, and how to ensure a positive step-change in culture and mindset within local councils.

“Council’s can deliver when it comes to handling complex programmes and we need to see more powers devolved to Councils as well as the resources to get the job done.”

Speakers at the conference will include:

  • Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
  • Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive, IPSOS.
  • Nadira Hussain, Chief Executive, Society for Innovation Technology and Modernisation.
  • Colette Kane, Local Government Auditor.
  • Dominic Campbell, Partner, The Institute for Impossible Ideas.

The conference will be supported by the Northern Ireland Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which provides the public sector with innovative solutions to problems that will drive improvement’

It also allows suppliers to develop products and services working collaboratively with the public-sector, enabling them to develop new skills, expertise and markets.

Speaking as the conference was launched, Cllr Martin Kearney, President, Northern Ireland Local Government Association said: “Local councils have consistently shown their resilience and capacity to respond to the needs of constituents during turbulent times.

“The past number of years have been extremely challenging with the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and further instability at the central government level in Northern Ireland.

“Our 11 local councils are delivering more services, for more citizens, with ever more stretched budgets, resources, and capacity. 

“This year’s Local Government Conference is an opportunity to seriously discuss and consider the challenges which lie before us as a sector but also how we address them collaboratively.

NILGA President Cllr Martin Kearney and Solace NI Chair Roger Wilson.

“Delivering more agile public services, in an era of digitalisation and sustainability, must become the number one aim for the local government sector.

We are bringing together experts from the private sector and voluntary sector for this year’s conference to share their experiences, what works best to ensure better organisations, and how to successfully reach our ambitions.

Solace NI Chair Roger Wilson also added: “2023 will be a significant year for councils in Northern Ireland.

“We continue to deal with the cost-of-living crisis for our households, businesses, and citizens while the next local government elections will provide councils with a fresh democratic mandate.

“The time is now to face these challenges head on and work together to find solutions which will create more sustainable local government for Northern Ireland.”