It's APSE's annual environment conference in Stoke and I am first up to speak this morning on the economic climate facing local government. The audience today is mainly Directors and Heads of Service from local authorities with a sprinkling of elected members. With less than a week to go until George Osborne delivers the Comprehensive Spending Review it’s hard to be upbeat about the fiscal challenge local government faces. I make the quip that my staff will be handing out anti-depressants at the end of my presentation and that we will also have a free phone number to offer counselling.
I push the message of triumphing in adversity and point to difficult times we have collectively faced in the past. My thesis is that we need to sweat out efficiency, be municipal entrepreneurs to generate income in a bid to offset reduced budgets and be innovative around renewable energy to create employment or redeployment opportunities.
Last night at our dinner we held APSE's annual apprentice awards for horticulture and transport. Julia Ford from West Lothian Council won the horticultural award with Leon Flattely from Luton Council winning in the transport category. The added bonus for the five shortlisted apprentices in the transport category is that the sponsor, Faun Zoeller, are taking them all on a tour of their factory in Bremen.