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Blog from Paul O'Brien

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
July 26, 2012
Eight steps to becoming a greener council

Eight steps to becoming a greener council

Firstly, there needs to be political buy in at the highest level. This is about the Council leading on tackling one of the biggest public policy issues of our time; it requires political vision, commitment and leadership.

Secondly, you need to do an audit of the local area, what natural assets are at your disposal will depend which strands of renewables or energy efficiency measures are most appropriate.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, green council's, Local government, corproate strategy
July 18, 2012
The reality of financial Armageddon

My latest column from MJ

The recent LGA report into future financing signalled that the very role and shape of local government in the UK is hurtling towards a significant crossroads. What it showed was that based on current projections there will be a £16.5bn shortfall in council budgets by 2020.

It predicted that 45% of budgets will be spent on social services by the end of the decade due to increased need and with waste collection also creating significant cost pressures, services such as road maintenance, libraries and leisure could see their budgets eroded by 90% compared to present comparative levels.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: LGA, Local government, APSE
July 12, 2012
Jamie on school meals

The local authority caterer’s association conference (laca) was a chance to reflect on how much change has taken place in school meals over the past few years.

A video link to Jamie Oliver allowed the audience to hear his views on how much progress has been made on embedding nutritional standards into everyday school life and some of the threats that may exist to what has been achieved to date. 

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: Jamie oliver, School Meals, LACA
July 7, 2012
Developing an 'Ensuring' council

The latest funding crisis report has brought into even sharper focus the debate on what future role and shape local government should have.

Should it play a meaningful role in acting as a catalyst for local society and the local economy or should it play a passive role emasculated of any real capacity to influence and shape with regard to the dominant public policy and social issues of the day?

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: APSE, Local government
June 29, 2012
Time to step back from the financial abyss

There was a real feel of local government being at a crossroads around the LGA conference in Birmingham this week, particularly as the LGA launched its report into future financing to coincide with the start of the event. What it showed was that based on current projections there will be a £16.5b shortfall on council budgets by 2020.

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: Local government, LGA, Adult Social Care, Roads Maintenance, Libraries, Leisure, APSE
June 19, 2012
Debate over Martha's blog shows school meals matter

APSE has welcomed the debate about school meals that has been opened up as a result of schoolgirl Martha Payne's blog.

 

The 'Never Seconds' blog by the nine-year-old from Lochgilphead, Argyll has put school food under the media spotlight. We have campaigned for the highest standards in school food and believes that opening up debate will give school meals the importance they deserve politically.

 

Martha's blog takes a balanced view and her experience of food at school is positive overall. Though some meals appear less appetising than others, her latest ‘food-o-meter’ score rated her school lunch 10/10. 

By Paul O'Brien
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Tags: School Meals, Local government, Marthas blog

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body 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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