Hello PPMA Members and Friends
This week’s post comes from SOCPO/PPMA Past President Robert Cragg, who outlines how the self-confessed ‘gentleman’s club’ started to find its true voice.
“I became President in 1996, which saw SOCPO’s 21st Birthday. That ‘coming of age’, marked by assembling almost all of the Past Presidents at our Annual Conference, came at a time of great change in local government.
Many councils, including my own (District of the Wrekin) were in the process of becoming Unitary Authorities, and of course some were being dismantled or significantly downsized. Our society was a valuable network in turbulent times. And the Society itself was changing.
Under the leadership of my predecessors, the Society had transformed from what even its best friends would have characterised as a comfortable ‘gentlemen’s club’ to a powerful voice and a go-to consultee in local government. Whitehall doors were opening to us. As part of that change process, one of the highlights of my year was a strategic planning weekend, hosted by Lewisham LBC, which I believe helped to set the Society’s future direction.
Today’s PPMA is a very different organisation in so many respects.
Another highlight has to be my visit to our colleagues in South Africa to witness at first hand the combination of excitement, ambition and fear that accompanied the massive changes that were unfolding there.
I was proud to be succeeded as President by the late, and greatly respected, Susan K Thomas.”
Robert Cragg is former president of SOCPO (1996- 97)