Weekly message from the Chair, John Austin

I hope you are all getting some of the sunny weather we currently have in the north west. Having said that, I’m travelling to London today to attend a Lawyers in Local Government Stakeholders’ event so I hope it’s as good down there. The event is a really good opportunity to build relationships with organisations like LLG and other like-minded partners. The prosecco and the canapés are an added bonus. It’s a hardship but somebody has to do it – as they say.

The ADSO Board has commissioned a strategic review of our organisation – ranging from our vision, aims and objectives through to the type of support we need to run as a business. We began that review last week with an away day which was externally facilitated by Deborah Evans, Chief Operating Officer at LLG. Deborah will be working with us to project manage the work, to provide her experience of working in membership organisations previously and adding that very important external challenge to our methods and thinking. I am confident that this will help take ADSO forward and provide the platform to improve and develop our services in the future. We spent some time last week looking at where ADSO should be positioning itself in the national and regional scene. For example, there is a strong view that we have developed beyond a membership organisation providing core services to our members – although that will always be our primary objective. We should now also be expressing views, commenting more publicly on relevant issues and campaigning/promoting local democracy more proactively. Part of the strategic review will involve consultation with you as members so please get involved when the time comes.

A reminder that ADSO will be at the LGA event in Bournemouth next week joining forces with CfPS, LLG and DemSoc in a ‘Democracy Hub’. Please ask your members and officers to pop in and say hello and get an ADSO freebie!

Many of you will know that John Lynch is a keen (and he says a very good) cyclist. Apparently he doesn’t need stabilisers any more although he does fall off from time to time at frightening speeds. The bangs on the head explain it all really. For those of you who enjoyed reading his blog of his ride from Lands End to John O’Groats last year, well John is off on his travels again. This year he is cycling across Slovenia and you can read his daily comments and see pictures on his blog via the link below. Yes he will be in his lycra so be warned!


Seriously, I do take my hat off to him. I visited him in Yorkshire during his ride last year and it gave me a very brief insight into both the distance travelled each day and the difficult terrain he had to overcome. Rather him then me! The best of luck John.

Have a good week everyone

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