New research from two leading local government think tanks has found that whilst 93% of local councils are reporting cuts to street scene and public realm budgets there is still and urgent need for councils to adopt different approaches to cope with the budget cuts.
After a gap of many decades, local authorities are getting involved in the generation and provision of energy. Councils across the UK are embracing renewable energy schemes with positive outcomes for local residents, businesses and for their own budgets. Not only are local energy schemes having a positive impact on energy pricing, helping to address fuel poverty, but they are also tackling local economic issues. This research shows that there is a renaissance in local energy.
With significant pressures facing local government waste services, and 79% of APSE members reporting a further squeeze on waste and recycling budgets, a timely new research publication has been released. ‘Waste: A brave new world’ explores the pressures on budgets and looks across the UK at how local authorities are responding to new and existing pressures on waste and recycling services.
APSE latest research publication ‘Ensuring action on health and wellbeing’ explores the national framework for public health in England, the responsibilities of local authorities and the requirement to gather local health intelligence to guide commissioning decisions. The report also examines the opportunities that exist for catering and sport and leisure services to contribute to health and well-being within this new framework. It focuses in particular on the potential for interventions by front-line services in tackling obesity and promoting physical activity.
APSE and the TCPA have called for a radical new approach to renew the quality and availability of social housing in the UK. Following publication of a joint research report ‘Housing the Nation: Ensuring councils can deliver more and better homes’ they argue that by investing in social housing the new Government can help to create a basis for social housing renewal, and bring jobs, skills and regeneration to local communities. With recommendations for councils to be at the heart of a new build programme, facilitated changes to funding, planning and S.106 development rules as well as reviewing ‘Right to Buy’ this research publication is a timely and essential report to contribute to the debate on housing renewal.
Energy efficiency experts, YES Energy Solutions and APSE have developed a handy 'how to' guide for Local Authorities to learn about the benefits of introducing ECO and Green Deal initiatives.
The main purpose of the Guide is to strip down all the confusing technical jargon and simply explain how ECO and Green Deal work, what each scheme is trying to achieve and how Local Authorities can get involved. It's fair to say that ECO and Green Deal have become something of a minefield since their launch in 2013. There has been a lot of noise made about these flagship Government initiatives, but do Local Authorities really know what they are all about and how they could use them to cut CO2 and reduce fuel poverty? To find the answer you can download this FREE guide on the link below.
The policy issue of retail domestic energy in the UK has taken on a very high media profile over the past few years. A number of separate, but related issues have coalesced into making domestic energy bills a front line political agenda item. The legislative needs of agreed CO2 emission reductions, when combined with domestic housing stock conditions has meant keeping homes warm is not a cheap option.
Yet whilst domestic energy usage has fallen by over 6% average dual fuel domestic energy bills have risen by over 70% in under a decade.
This FREE to download publication explores the political, policy and practical implications of retail energy pricing.
The changing demands, requirements and expectations of the office of the councillor, like those of local government, are once again under scrutiny in Scotland. This 2014 study 'The future role of elected members in Scotland' surveys the beliefs and attitudes of elected members across Scotland. The survey generated returns from approximately 10 per cent of the 1222 councillors across the 32 authorities in Scotland. To supplement these returns, the survey was followed by a half-day focus group with elected members.
A new APSE research publication ‘Two Tribes? Exploring the future role of elected members’ has revealed sharp contrasts in attitudes between those in decision-making and 'backbench' roles. This new research study describes the existence of 'two tribes' among local politicians - with opinions on matters including local government political structures and capacity to improve services split according to roles rather than political persuasion.
In a new research report ‘Better business: Councils shaping markets for public value’, which was commissioned by APSE and written by NLGN, the organisations argue that whilst local businesses can bring valuable social, environmental, and economic benefits to local places, some private sector markets are failing to meet social needs and creating negative outcomes relating to ill health, financial vulnerability, and poor educational attainment which are picked up by local public services. Whilst national governments have a clear role to play in fixing these, local intervention can be preferable, or complementary, to a wider national approach.
The report provides a range of positive recommendations to enable councils to nudge or ‘budge’ business towards more socially responsible products and business practices.
This latest APSE research ‘Ensuring Change: Building capacity in local government’ produced in association with Public Intelligence explores how, in spite of the current economic conditions, councils remain as the ‘engine room’ of their localities.
‘Ensuring Collaboration: One way ahead for public-private partnerships’ aims to stimulate further discussion over how elected members, local government officers and public service providers can work collectively to manage change and transformation in public-private partnerships.
A new report has been published by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), which demonstrates how councils can be effective local water stewards.
APSE, in association with De Montfort University as part of the KTP programme, has produced a self-assessment toolkit to help health and well-being boards navigate their way through complex issues and find solutions that suit local circumstances. Following the transfer of responsibilities for public health under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, boards now face important strategic decisions. The toolkit has been designed to help them.
Local authority assets can play a major part in revitalising the UK's ailing town centres, but this is being overlooked in current national policy, according to a report published today by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).
This report is based on research, undertaken in partnership between APSE and IPPR North, to explore ways in which local authorities can harness the best ideas of their workforce in order to use innovation to improve services.
Unprecedented financial problems coupled with demographic and environmental pressures call for a fundamental rethink of what the future role of local government should be and how effective services can be provided in the next decade and beyond.
In these times of austerity it is important that councils maximise sustainable benefits from their assets to ensure ‘value for money’, in all sense of the phrase, for local communities. This is why the concept of ‘resource efficiency’ becomes so critical.
As local authorities strive to address the impacts on their communities of the economic downturn and reductions in public spending, a debate is taking place about alternative visions of the future shape of local government itself.
A review of the role of co-operatives and mutuals in local public service provision. The interest in using co-ops and mutuals to deliver public services has never been greater – not least because of the Government’s commitment to creating a ‘Big Society’ through introducing a greater diversity of public service providers.