Back in the easy chair

Sam Howes

So, what's in a name?

If you watch the commercials for Norwich Union/Aviva at the moment, the answer is 'a chance to show the world what you've always wanted to be'! Well the Forum isn't as pretentious as that, but a change of name has occurred.

So, why has the Forum dropped the word 'English'? (Don't tell me you hadn't noticed!).

Much of what the Forum does is of considerable interest to our colleagues in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We see delegates from these countries at our conferences and they regularly request copies of our publications. So we thought they may be interested in joining us and making the Forum a true UK/Republic of Ireland organisation. Reflecting all of that in a new name was a challenge so we decided to simply drop the word 'English'. Membership is therefore now open to local authorities, organisations and individuals in these countries.

The widening of the Forum's membership will enable us to call on support and experience from further afield. We are starting in July with a Conference in the Republic of Ireland and will build on this new arrangement in the coming years.

Other events being planned for 2009 should see us visiting Cambridge, York, Winchester and Chichester. You can learn more about these events elsewhere in this newsletter and there will be further details when dates are finalised.

The current economic situation means that the Forum will have to compete even harder for scarce resources: membership fees, sponsorships, attendance at conferences, etc. We are confident that a combination of maintaining high quality, relevant events, complemented by best practice guidance and a loyal and expanding list of delegates should see us through these difficult times. Your continuing support is however critical to our future and I would like to thank you for maintaining your interest in the Forum's work.

I hope to see you at as many of the HTF events as possible in 2009, but if your training budgets mean that you can only attend one event this year, make it an HTF event!

Sam Howes, Chair, HTF