APSE Chief Executive, Paul O'Brien
I realise that for many of you to wish you a nice break over the Easter weekend will not be appropriate. So many of you will be continuing to keep our frontline services open for business and going above and beyond to protect our most vulnerable residents during this health pandemic. The word ‘unprecedented’ has been overused but this really is a unique situation. Whilst many have had to deal with emergency situations before, within individual or groups of councils, we have rarely witnessed such an emergency across all of our authorities at the same time, and with this level of severity, and risk to public health, posed by COVID-19.
As APSE, we took early action to support our member councils in any way that we could. We have had some wonderfully supportive comments from many of you and it has really highlighted to us the value of the ‘APSE Family’. We have in many ways placed our ‘normal business’ to one side so that we could properly resource the needs of our member councils. We are a long way off a return to normality but we are now gradually bringing you some non-COVID information; this is not to displace the importance of the COVID responses but to reflect that many of our local government officers who are not directly involved in COVID work are using this time, with many home working, to ensure that when services are remobilised post-COVID they are in a good position to immediately restart work on some ‘mothballed’ but non-the-less critical public policy issues; such as climate emergency, high performing local services and ensuring we have the capacity to deliver, with well trained staff and resources.
Local government should never again have to argue for its place within the public service family. It is councils that are delivering to the vulnerable, continuing to collect the waste, ensuring the public realm remains accessible and safe, and providing meals to children and vulnerable older people and families.So I wish you well for the coming Easter weekend and hope that you will at least get some time to reflect on just how brilliant you are!
Let’s #ClapForCarers but let’s also #ClapForCouncils!
APSE Membership Resources
You can still sign up to access the APSE COVID-19 WhatsApp groups using this link. APSE’s dedicated team of Principal Advisors are still on hand to support member councils with briefings, network queries and advice and also continue to work on the latest research. The team are currently working on remobilisation reports for post-COVID guidance for local council frontline services. If you have further suggestions for support to feed through to our advisors please email Mo Baines on firstname.lastname@example.org
APSE Performance Networks
At this current time it’s never been more crucial to collect data to understand fully the impact and consequences of COVID-19 and how this has effects resources and performance across council services. APSE’s Debbie Johns, Head of Performance Networks suggests councils should be looking now to ensure that they can evidence the impact of COVID-19. This includes changes to operational methods due to social distancing measures such as drivers in cabs or funeral procedures, and reductions or closure of service such as leisure centres, car parks and school meals.
You can read more of Debbie’s suggestions on data below.
Contact Debbie on Djohns@apse.org.uk
APSE Solutions as always, is here to support and encourage UK local government to respond positively and effectively to new challenges as they emerge and COVID-19 is no exception. For its part, APSE Solutions will continue to offer expert advice and support through its extensive network of interim managers and consultants. From filling gaps in current capacity through to help with planning the services of the future, APSE Solutions aims to be on the journey with the APSE membership.
Read Andy Mudd’s analysis of the impact of COVID-19 and the service issues that face frontline services during the current pandemic and looking forwards to what the ‘new normal’ means.
Contact Andy on email@example.com
Like all local authorities you will have staff who are actively engaged, as key workers, carrying out vital services. You may also have staff who are working at home, or remotely, who could usefully engage in developing new skills during this period; and you may be using the time to refresh your training and development plans to address whatever the future holds.
APSE’S Head of Training Fiona Sutton-Wilson shares some top tips on time utilisation during lock down and explains what services are still accessible online to training mangers. Click on the button below.
Contact Fiona on FSuttonWilson@apse.org.uk
Phil Brennan, Head of APSE Energy, is keen to ensure local authorities do not lose sight of the climate emergency and explores the lessons from the pandemic that could be applied to tackling this. Phil, alongside Mike Chan of APSE Energy partner, Beond Group, also shares a ‘what to look for’ list on energy procurement during COVID-19.
You can read more on this by clicking the button below.
If you are responsible for energy procurement or interested in green energy issues you can contact Phil on firstname.lastname@example.org