APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) works with over 300 local councils throughout the UK. The UK referendum vote to leave the EU has a fundamental impact on local government.
APSE recognises that many local government regulations and functions, whilst set within a UK legislative framework, are also governed by European Union regulations. Whilst many may continue unchanged in the short term, and during the exit negotiations with the EU, local government must be fairly represented within a national public service context.
APSE is calling upon the Government and all political parties to ensure local government services are protected. A future domestic framework, governing matters such as freedoms and powers for local councils, procurement regulations, environmental protection regulations, employment matters for the local government workforce and, most importantly, council budgets are treated fairly with the full involvement of the local government sector. In developing alternative plans, policies and any necessary legislative changes, local government needs to be fully consulted.
Speaking about the referendum results, Paul O’Brien, APSE Chief Executive, said “It is not for APSE to judge the outcome of the referendum. The British people have voted for change, however we must not allow the results of the referendum to bring a further assault on local government finances. The ship is only just steadying from years of austerity budgets and now is not the time to crush the progress that local councils are making in bringing about stable local government services.”
APSE National Chair, Councillor Martin Reilly, said “We now need a UK-wide and sector representative local government forum to work with Central Government on responding to the EU exit. Such a forum needs to be fully representative of the whole of local government and should be one which understands the full intricacies of local council services and the interface with EU regulations. Only then will we be able to ensure the best possible outcomes for local councils and the communities they serve”.