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Blog from Paul O'Brien

January 23, 2013
Local government and its use of social media

Great day today at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood where we held our first conference on the usage of social media in local government, #apsesm

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: apse, social media, Local government
January 14, 2013
Why would you want to be a Councillor?

Viewed with suspicion by some, belittled by others, derided by the media both locally and nationally, over worked and underpaid. For some a wider career ending move with little reward at the end, with even the possibility of a small pension set to be removed by Ministers.

Managing a significant but diminishing budget, making cuts to services the vulnerable rely on and staff redundant, it’s all in a day’s work in the current economic environment.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, Local government
December 3, 2012
Developing a commercial edge in local government services

More and more councils are emphasising the development of commercial strategies and skills in order to hold services together and give them a fighting chance in the current age of austerity.

Some commentators may view local government, innovation and entrepreneurship as unlikely bedfellows. But I see evidence all over country that a commercial culture is expanding and flourishing amongst council staff.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, Local government, Commercialisation, parks, grounds maintenance, Stockton, Wakefield, Sefton, Nottingham, Tower Hamlets, De Montfort, Lewisham
November 20, 2012
Leaner and greener: one year on

Participated in a really interesting event today on the transformation of the public sectors estate. Organised by Westminster sustainable business forum the event was a follow on from last years launch of the influential research report 'Leaner and Greener: Delivering effective estate management.' This identified that local government in England's property portfolio was worth £250billion and that £7billion could be saved in annual running costs by better space utilisation.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, leaner and greener, space utilisation
October 23, 2012
Need, opportunity and uncertainty - a mixed bag for housing

APSE's recent Housing and Building Maintenance seminar In Leeds gave me a chance to hear the views of colleagues working in this sector of local government and the issues that were vexing them, three main issues came to the fore.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: Housing, APSE, Green Deal, Universal credit
October 12, 2012
What will local government look like in 2020?

This article is based on a recent column I did for the MJ magazine.

What will local government look like in 2020? My answer is that it will depend significantly on what elected members and officers want it to look like and the policy choices they make.

Whilst I accept that central government decisions will always have an impact in shaping local government, it is members and officers, in conjunction with the local public, who will decide what the political vision for an area is, what outcomes are pursued to achieve this and how this is implemented through the services the council is responsible for providing and delivering.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: Local government, APSE, ensuring council
October 10, 2012
A Guide to Solar PV Projects - in Local Government and the Public Sector

Someone who has influenced my thinking on local government greatly over the past couple of decades has this week published a new book, 'A Guide to Solar PV Projects - in Local Government and the Public Sector'. The first books of Stephen Cirell's that I read were thick local government law encyclopaedias around Compulsory Competitive Tendering, followed by similar tomes on Best Value, then the Private Finance Initiative and Charging and Trading. So how does someone go from this background into the arena of climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency? And do they know anything about the topic?

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, Stephen Cirell, Solar PV, Local government, renewable energy, energy efficiency
September 27, 2012
Who really keeps the country moving? #Ourday

To the workforce in local government this is your day.

Getting up at the crack of dawn to grit and maintain the roads infrastructure, sweep the streets, clean the schools and public buildings, this is your day.

Maintaining the parks, picking up the bins, feeding school kids and looking after those who need care, this is your day.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, #Ourday
August 27, 2012
Is outsourcing failing public services?

Connaught, Rok, Southern Cross, Mouchel, IBM in local government, not to mention wider public sector outsourcing problems with A4E and G4S- there really is a lengthening list of problems with outsourced contracts.

 

And then there are those contracts that are quietly ended ‘by mutual agreement’ to avoid costly legal action, saving reputations, but often masking serious problems.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, local government, Outsourcing
August 22, 2012
Entrepreneurship alive and flourishing in local authorities across the UK

APSE's latest research reveals that innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well in local authorities the length and breadth of the UK.

APSE's new report, Municipal Entrepreneurship, challenges the myth that local government is monolithic, bureaucratic and incapable of change. It demonstrates that commercial skills and business acumen are flourishing in local government and that elected members and entrepreneurial managers are fostering a commercial culture among council staff.  

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, Entrepreneurship, innovation, De Montfort

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

           

 

          

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