It may already seem like a lifetime ago, but it was only a matter of days that we were in Nottingham for the annual UK LARAC Conference. As always, those two days flew by; we packed a lot of content into the programme. The last few years have seen an evolution of the event and we feel the mix of high level and detail, case studies and industry viewpoints and kicking off day two with the workshops is about right and what you want to see and experience.


Planning the conference is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. So even though the event is only just over we are already posting photos, looking to gain your feedback and planning a review meeting to go over the whole two days. And, in the New Year we will then have the first meeting to plan LARAC18 and start the search for speakers and before you know it next year’s early bird bookings will be launched.

It is not an easy task to put an event of this size on and EMG, our conference provider, does a great job of liaising with the venue, sorting accommodation, securing speakers and making sure we have a full list of exhibitors and award sponsors. Without those last two the delegate fee to LARAC members would be a lot higher than it is – no, I really mean a lot! So, having them on board is crucial to the financial side of the event but it also adds a great deal to the atmosphere in the coffee and lunch breaks, as well as enabling you to find out about the latest developments across the industry.

We have heard so many of them say how they enjoy the event and engaging with local authority officers. They like the “vibe” of the LARAC Conference and we do to – and a lot of effort goes into creating the special buzz that does signify the excellent networking that goes on at a LARAC Conference. I like to think it is because we put so much effort into making effective communication possible, that so many companies are happy to attend and support our event year after year.



One aspect that does need looking at is the awards. We had lots of high quality entries, but we have also seen a decline in the overall number of entries.

We know from the evidence on the night that there is loads of good work going on. So, is the decline because people are simply too busy to submit, or is that they are reticent to blow their own trumpet? Either way, we think you deserve all the recognition you can get for the work you do so we will be looking to get your feedback on how we can encourage you to shout from the rooftops and get a submission in.

The two days for me are always a joy but also stressful and tiring in equal measure. Having been to so many LARAC Conferences (and yes so has the scarf); to see it still going so strong and to have such good feedback gives me a real sense of pride in the organisation and what is stands for. Now, I must ask you to excuse me while I go in search of a paint brush to start painting that bridge again!

If you were unable to attend the conference, or you want to check on something you heard there and you are a LARAC member - log in using your membership number to peruse the conference and workshops sessions and flick through the photographs.