APSE exhibited at the SNP conference in Aviemore this weekend and I also spoke at a fringe event on 'what local authorities are doing to tackle climate change', with the Scottish Government's Environment Minister, Mike Russell and Sandra White a MSP.
After many years of opposition the atmosphere was electric, coming just 5 months after their election success and forming the new administration at Holyrood. We had great coverage at the event with First Minister, Alex Salmond and his Deputy Nicola Sturgeon both visiting the stand, along with John Swinney the Public Services Minister. Two of APSEs key SNP elected members, our Scottish Chair Frank Anderson and Richard Lyle of North Lanarkshire Council, brought Minister after Minister to have a chat with us.
At the well attended fringe meeting I opened up and pushed four main points, firstly that the public sector needs to be the champion of change, secondly that it needs to use its massive spending power to ensure that procurement is done on a sustainable basis, rather than lowest cost, thirdly that the services it provides need to be delivered on a greener basis across the board and finally that the mindset in public services has to change so that everyone recognises they have a role to play, rather than seeing it as someone else's responsibility. Mike and Sandra both agreed in there responses and Mike went on to state that it was Governments role to provide leadership and establish frameworks for individuals to operate within, but it would be individual action which saved the planet from its greatest threat.