We've just opened entries for the 2017 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards. These long-running Awards recognise exceptional and innovative local government projects. The Category winners and the Supreme Award winner will be announced at SOLGM's annual Gala Dinner being held at the Langham, Auckland on 12 April 2017. Tickets sold out for the 2016 Dinner so we'd encourage you to purchase your tickets early for this special event.

There are six project categories this year with the addition of the new Minister of Local Government Innovation in Asset Management Award. The categories are:

> Innovation in Organisation and People Development Award

> LGFA Transforming Service Delivery Award

> Innovation in Council - Community Relations Award

> BERL Collaborative Government Action Award

> Innovation in Policy and Regulator Development Award

> The Minister of Local Government Innovation in Asset Management Award

More information on the judging criteria and the Entry Form can be found in our website here. You'll also find information on the 2016 Award winners - they'll give you an idea of the standard that this year's judges are looking for. Entries close on 1 February 2017. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors McGredy Winder, LGFA, BERL as well as the Minister for their invaluable support of these Awards.

Entries Open for SOLGM's Leadership Scholarship & Overseas Manager Exchanges

Entries have also opened for these once-a-year opportunities to gain either a place on one of two leadership programmes or take part in an overseas exchange with a local government professional in Canada, the USA or Australia.

Leadership Scholarships: In partnership with the Skills Organisation and the Leadership Development Centre (LDC) we are able to offer two scholarships. The first is to the prestigious Mt Eliza Melbourne Business School's Leading for Strategic Success Programme and the second is to LDC's Leadership in Practice Programme. The Mt Eliza programme is the Business School's most senior leadership programme (replacing the Leadership Development Programme previously offered). Find out more about these scholarships and how to apply here.

Overseas Manager Exchanges: With the on-going support of sponsors JLT and Civic Assurance we are again offering four exchanges in 2017. These exchanges involve the hosting of a local government professional from British Columbia (Canada), the USA or Australia while our 2017 Summit is on in October and a reciprocal visit to their country during their relevant annual conference. Details on the exchanges on offer and how to apply can be found here.

Entries close on 1 February 2017 and the recipients of both the Scholarships and the Exchanges will be announced at our Gala Dinner in April.

We'll also be opening nominations for Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award, also being announced at our Gala Dinner, later in the month. An exciting addition to this Award is the provision of a trip for the winner to the ICMA conference in Texas next October - look out for more information in my upcoming emails.

BERL 2016: New Adjustors, Same Economy Webinar - It's not too late to register for this webinar presented by BERL's Dr Ganesh Nana. The webinar is on 12 October starting at 10am and you can register here.

LTP 101: An Introduction to the 2018 LTP Webinar Series - This two part webinar series is an essential for those new to the process. It's also a great series for those that are involved with part of the process and want a clearer understanding of the full process. Register for the series, which will be delivered on 18 and 26 October, here. A reminder too that the remaining updates to our LTP suite of guides are due to be released over the coming week and then available in our LGSectorGoodToolkit website.

Road to 2018 LTP Seminars

Continuing our current focus on the LTP these seminars will provide more in-depth information and are suitable for both experienced practitioners and those new to the process (and who have attended our webinar series). Key points from our reviewed suite of long-term plan guides will be covered and sessions include financial management and strategies, infrastructure strategies, consultation documents, the audit process and bringing the LTP together.

We will be in four locations in November:

> 1 November in Queenstown

> 3 November in Christchurch

> 16 November in Palmerston North

> 17 November in Auckland

2016 Elections Debrief - 2 December in Wellington

Electoral Officers are invited to debrief at this one day event which provides the opportunity to come together to review the election process and set the agenda for the next three years. Find out more and register here.