It has been a great start to the year for LARIA and with your help we can do even more. This year so far we have:

  • Launched our new Partnership programme with our first partner being CACI
  • Merged with the Social Services Research Group (SSRG) opening up a new range of member benefits and creating our first Research Activity Group
  • Held a very successful conference and awards in Sheffield.  For the presentations and to find out who won our awards visit our website
  • Refreshed our articles of association to create new officer posts and to support our merger with SSRG

None of this would have been possible without the work of volunteers. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed. Going forward to support our work further we have revamped our website to create a new “Get Involved” section. Whether you want to support a local group, take part in an event or join the LARIA Council you will find out more here.

At the AGM our new rules of association state that we can now appoint more deputy members to the Council and the intention of the officers is to get in place a good succession plan. At the AGM I stated my intention for this to be my last term as Chair, ending by the 2019 AGM, and Gerallt Evans-Hughes has stated his intention to stand down from the Events Group Chair in 2018. We currently have a vacant Secretary post and positions on the Council.

Personally I have found the opportunity to serve on Council and to be Chair hugely rewarding and I would strongly recommend getting more involved. Over the next few months and years we want to work with LARIA members to help them do just that. We know there are barriers such as time, but also that without new volunteers we cannot keep membership fees low and activity levels high.

It is also an exciting time to get involved. Going into the autumn we are:

  • Asking for submissions to speak at the autumn conference in Liverpool
  • Launching the LARIA Research Impact Awards in October
  • Working with the LGA and Solace to develop what we are provisionally called the “Intelligent Council”. What are the research disciplines and approaches which an excellent Local Authority could be expected to deploy and why? The work will aim to develop a framework for councils to assess their current position and understand the benefits of evidence-informed decision-making. Richard Potter is leading on this work over summer and would love to hear from you if you have views. You can contact Richard via email here and he is also opening up the discussion on Linkedin
  • Encouraging more members to join through a membership push in September which will provide more information on the benefits of being a member

I hope you have a great summer and I look forward to meeting new volunteers and discussing how we can work together in the autumn and beyond. If you want to contact me personally my new email address is and the will get you through to the Mosaic Events team who can help further. All the LARIA volunteers would be very happy to discuss with you the opportunities to get involved and there are opportunities big and small depending on how much time and commitment you can give.

Neil Wholey


July 2017