Some of the unsung heroes in the aftermath of the riots of earlier this week were the street cleansing crews who returned city centres to some semblance of normality with maximum efficiency and the minimum of fuss. Whilst senior political figures were quick to praise the public response with brooms and bin bags and cite it as an example of the ‘Big Society’, in reality many were turned away as local authority crews had been out from 5.30am and dealt with much of the clean up by the time the public actually arrived.
Reading Thaler and Sunstein’s book ‘Nudge’ set me thinking once again about how some of their ideas could be used to manage demand for local government services when management of scarce financial resources has never been more difficult.
Local Government owns £250B of property with an estimated one fifth of revenue expenditure going into managing that property. This was a fact that made me sit up in my seat when I attended an event on Local Authority Estate Transformation in Manchester the other day.
When APSE launched its research publication ‘The virtuous green circle: creating a revolving fund for local authority solar energy’, in Birmingham recently, I was impressed by the number of authorities present who were making progress with delivering projects in this area of renewable energy.
Took part in Guardian online debate today on managing parks and green spaces despite the budget cuts and with over 100 posts in two hours it was a lively debate.
I pushed the APSE line about whilst we disagree with the cuts we recognise that they are happening and therefore we need to find ways to stop services from imploding. The only response is to seek efficiency, generate additional income and innovate.
Launch of APSE's new research publication 'the virtuous green circle: creating a revolving fund for local authority solar energy', at Birmingham City Football Club. The report demonstrates a business case as to how you can undertake renewables projects in local government on a self financing basis.
Spoke this morning at a conference at the QE11 centre in London on Outsourcing and Shared Services - except I spoke about the failings of outsourcing over the past twenty years in England and why so many authorities are now insourcing services. I have got to say I was pleasantly surprised that the audience were very receptive to my message and the nine key lessons if still outsourcing services which I mentioned.
Participated in meeting of Greenlink today in London. This is the body bringing together organisations involved in the parks and open spaces sector, an area that is being particularly hit hard by cuts at present. Many of the organisations present where third sector and social enterprises, who depend heavily on local authority funding and contracts to survive. This is a point the group has pursued at a recent lobbying meeting with DCLG Minister Andrew Stunnell, along with concerns on skill erosion and a reduction in perceived Government supportiveness for the importance of quality green space.
Chaired APSE's Innovation forum at Elland Road Stadium, Leeds today on income generation opportunities for local authorities.