We're now taking entries for our 2016 Overseas Manager Exchanges and our 2016 Leadership Scholarships. Both are part of our LGLeadershipPathways programme, an initiative designed to support the professional careers of those working in local government. The exchange recipients gain first-hand experience of overseas local authorities and the scholarship recipients gain places on leadership programmes not usually available to local government employees.

The combined value of both the exchanges and scholarships is approximately $100,000 and the tangible benefits for our members and their organisations make them a key part of our LGLeadership Pathways programme.

We are grateful to our partners and sponsors – without their support we would not be able to offer these to our members.

The 2016 exchange programme offers four exchanges, to the United States, to British Columbia in Canada and to New South Wales and to Queensland in Australia through our partnerships with JLT and Civic Assurance. Each exchange involves the recipient making a hosted visit to the destination country and then hosting a reciprocal visitor from that country. The New Zealand part of the exchange will be timed to take place during the 2016 SOLGM Annual Summit being held in Auckland on 21 to 23 September. Find out more and how to apply here.

Through our partnership arrangements with The Skills Organisation, the Leadership Development Centre and Opus we are very pleased to offer four scholarships to places on their leadership development programmes (two for the Opus programme) to our members. These are tailored to meet the needs of those at different management levels from emerging leaders (the LDC programme) right up to Chief Executives (the Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School Leadership Development programme). Find out more and how to apply here.

Entries to both the scholarships and the exchanges close on 11 March 2016. They are only open to SOLGM members and membership application information is available here. The recipients will be announced at the SOLGM Gala Dinner being held in Wellington on 14 April.

We have now opened registrations for all our leading practice Forums through to our annual Community Plan Forum being held in August. All events can be found in our Event Calendar and I've listed a selection below:

Risk Management Forum

23 & 24 February in Wellington

A Forum not to be missed by anyone practicing or involved with the important issue of risk management, the 2016 Forum will cover key topics around the science and art of risk management including sharing best practice in framework design and debating the issues on implementing and embedding a risk management culture of excellence in Local Government. The Forum features keynote presentations from Risk New Zealand Award winner Beca, the Otago Civil Defence & Emergency Management Group as well as a number of facilitated workshops. It will provide participants the opportunity to discuss topics such as ‘risks of significance’, deliberate the issues of risk management inside and outside of the Risk Audit Committee, and hear from colleagues across the country present and discuss their risk management toolkits, frameworks and experiences.

Procurement for Local Authorities Made Simple

29 & 30 March in Wellington

This workshop is about Less Stress – More Success procurement and is part of a total procurement approach that SOLGM’s partner, The Integral Group, is doing with councils to improve local authority procurement. The workshop is presented by Frank Aldridge, the founding Director of The Integral Group. Frank has been consulting and training in project management, procurement and negotiation in both the public and private sectors since 1996 and has managed hundreds of projects and trained or worked with over 20 councils in the last four years. Frank is also the presenter of our Project Management course on 19 and 20 May in Christchurch. I'd recommend those interested register early - numbers are limited and our February Project Management course sold out some time ago.

2016 SOLGM Gala Dinner

14 April at Mac's Function Centre in Wellington

Timed to coincide with our Chief Executives Forum and Masterclass on in Wellington on 14 and 15 April, join us to celebrate with your colleagues the awarding of:

- The 2016 McGredy Winder Local Government Excellence Awards (entries close at 5pm Wednesday 3 February)

- The winning team of the New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge (entries closed last Friday)

- The Overseas Manager Exchange and Leadership Scholarship recipients (see above, entries close 11 March)

Finally a note about Excellence Award project entries - some early entries have arrived with the PowerPoint presentation in the wrong size. To check this open the file, go to the Design tab and click on Page Setup. The "Slides sized for" dropdown must show or be changed to "On-screen Show (16:9)". Changing this setting to the correct one may distort the graphics so entering councils need to allow time to fix this before submitting an entry.