New to our annual event calendar is a one day Community Services & Facilities Event which we're holding in Christchurch on 28 April. If you're involved or have an interest in this area the full programme is now available in our online Event Calendar here.

Sub-titled `Creating Community Value' the event will bring together professionals working in this area to share knowledge and learn from both their colleagues and experts through interactive workshops and innovative case studies. The programme covers three main themes:

> Funding services and facilities

> Making the case for services and facilities

> Managing services and facilities

If this event isn't right for you please pass this newsletter on to your colleagues. You (and/or your colleagues) can register in our website.

Does your council have a team entered in this year's Management Challenge? You can follow how they're going on social media via #challenge2017. The first Challenge Day, with eight teams competing will be on Tuesday, 14 March and the second, with six council teams competing, will be on Wednesday, 15 March. The winning team will be announced at our Gala Dinner in April and then go on to compete against the Australian State finalists in Hobart in late May. The list of councils entered is in our website.

For those that don't know about this service or haven't recently checked out what groups are available, LGConnect is a free service that SOLGM provides to all local government staff. Joining one or more of the LGConnect discussion groups puts you in touch with colleagues working in specific areas in councils around the country. We regularly add new groups - you can find the full list and join as many as appeal in the LGConnect website here.

Our annual Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum tickets are selling fast. If you're involved in the finance area this Forum is on in Auckland on 27 & 28 March and you can find out more and purchase your tickets here. We'd recommend an early decision as not only are our tickets selling fast, we understand accommodation options are limited.

SOLGM's annual Gala Dinner is on in Auckland on 12 April. We'll be announcing the winning entries in the 2017 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards, the winning team in the New Zealand leg of the Australasian Management Challenge, the winner of the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award and the recipients of our 2017 Leadership Scholarships and Overseas Manager Exchanges. You can buy your tickets for this special evening here.

The Marketplace is also on at the Langham hotel in Auckland on 12 April. Entry is free to this exhibition space, where councils that have entered our Excellence Awards will be showcasing their projects, so there's no need to purchase a ticket but please do note it in your diary. The Marketplace is open from midday on the 12th and remains open until the start of our Gala Dinner at 6.30pm.

Our annual Chief Executives Forum is also on the 12th of April at the Langham. We're pleased to confirm that the Minister of Local Government, Hon Anne Tolley and Associate Minister of Local Government, Hon Jacqui Dean will be presenting a joint session at the Forum. Other speakers and topics being covered include `When growth becomes a headache` (Stephen Town, CE at Auckland Council), and `Help!! My new Mayor campaigned against me and my council staff, and was voted in!` (Brendan Duffy and Wilma Falconer). Check out the full programme and register for this Forum here.

The 12th of April is going to be busy - we're also holding an Executive Leaders Masterclass that day at the Langham. It's designed for senior executives in the sector who aspire to move into a more senior role or a Chief Executive role. The programme comprises plenty of practical, hands on sessions and you can find out more and register here. Delegates at this Masterclass will also participate in a joint session presented by the Minister and Associate Minister of Local Government at the Chief Executives Forum (see above).

Webinar: What's the State of Play with Spatial Planning? Presented by Ree Anderson on 20 April, this webinar is for anyone involved in strategic planning, strategic asset management, big picture policy or just those interested in spatial planning. Ree, one of the leading figures in this field, will also take questions - find out how to join her for this webinar here.

Our annual Professional Administrators Forum is being held in Auckland on 11 & 12 May. We've got a great mix of inspiring speakers and practical topics in the Programme - check out the full information on this Forum and register here. You may want to encourage your administration staff to go to this Forum. If they haven't registered for one of our events before instructions are:

> First create a SOLGM login by going to the Home page of our website and clicking on the link under the large Register image

> Wait about 24 hours while we link that login account to the relevant council (otherwise tickets need to be paid by credit card)

> Register for the Forum choosing the option of purchasing on the council account.

Finally, already open for registration is our annual Workforce Forum on in Wellington on 8 & 9 June. Look out for the programme shortly in our website here.