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Association for Public Service Excellence
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Events

Current Research Programme

Pay rates amongst refuse workers in the UK: An analysis of the challenges facing the sector
Pay rates amongst refuse workers in the UK: An analysis of the challenges facing the sector

Designed in the wake of the late 2021 HGV driver shortage crisis, the aim of this survey of APSE’s member authority refuse teams was to gather accurate real time data on the pay rates of refuse workers: HGV drivers, non-HGV drivers and loaders. The survey also includes questions and analysis on retention and recruitment issues in the sector. 

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Rising to the climate change challenge: The role of housing and planning within local councils
Rising to the climate change challenge: The role of housing and planning within local councils

A report by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), researched and written by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), considers the important role of local councils in tackling climate change, with an emphasis on their responsibilities in relation to housing and planning.

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Deposit Return Scheme
Deposit Return Scheme

Lessons from Scotland and implications for the rest of the UK

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Impact of COVID-19 on performance management in UK local government frontline services
Impact of COVID-19 on performance management in UK local government frontline services

APSE Performance Networks therefore made a decision to track these impacts to provide a robust data analysis. Following the reports produced in 2020 this latest report, a summary of data collated across frontline services in 2021, provides some explicability to changes in costs, quality and productivity. 

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Local government: Skills shortages and workforce capacity
Local government: Skills shortages and workforce capacity

This APSE discussion paper provides an analysis of the workforce challenges facing local government, considers its wider role in employment on an economy wide basis, and explores the findings of the APSE ‘Big Workforce Survey’.

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Local Authority Holiday Provision
Local Authority Holiday Provision

APSE has conducted research in the holiday provision that local authorities are providing across the UK and the lead that councils are taking to tackle the issue of food insecurity in their communities. This briefing provides an overview of the research, outlines the key findings and provides case study examples.

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State of UK Public Parks 2021
State of UK Public Parks 2021

A new report,  published by APSE using data from CFP, finds that from 2010 onwards parks budgets have reduced by £690 million, leading to industry calls to stem this decline and leverage new investment in these valuable local community assets.

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Securing the Future of Public Sport and Leisure Services
Securing the Future of Public Sport and Leisure Services

A new report, lead by APSE in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association (CLOA), examines how we can ensure the survival of public sport and leisure services.

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APSE Local Government Commission 2030
APSE Local Government Commission 2030

The final report of the APSE Local Government Commission 2030, set up to explore what the next decade could hold for a revitalised local government, has called for a system reset and at its heart a new constitutional settlement for local councils.   

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Taking stock
Taking stock

APSE and CIPFA's latest report considers the challenges and opportunities for local authority property and assets in supporting local economy recovery.

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EU Exit: Impacts, Implications, Opportunities and Threats for Local Councils in Northern Ireland
EU Exit: Impacts, Implications, Opportunities and Threats for Local Councils in Northern Ireland

A new APSE Actions Paper, written in close collaboration with NILGA, sets out the challenges and opportunities for Northern Ireland councils in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU.

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A decent place to live: Homes fit for Key Workers
A decent place to live: Homes fit for Key Workers

The report finds, that the role of local councils in directly providing new homes has been systematically undermined for decades, leaving housing supply to a failing market system. 

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Bystanders or innovators? How local authorities can use place making to drive the green recovery
Bystanders or innovators? How local authorities can use place making to drive the green recovery

This APSE report, researched and written by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), is calling for a national enabling strategy to place local government at the heart of a post-pandemic recovery, suggesting that its role in place making will be the core driver to a green recovery.

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Post Pandemic: Green Urban Spaces
Post Pandemic: Green Urban Spaces

This new e-publication explores the value of green urban spaces and the benefits brought to communities throughout the health pandemic.

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The impact of Covid-19 on performance management in UK local government
The impact of Covid-19 on performance management in UK local government

APSE introduced a new quarterly data collection exercise to assess the impact of Covid-19 on a range of front-line services.  This report relates to the first quarter of 2020 (April – June) and shows the averages for individual services from participating authorities.

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The public trust councils more than Government in Covid Response
The public trust councils more than Government in Covid Response

A new public opinion poll, conducted by leading polling company Survation for APSE, has reinforced support for councils, councillors and council workers who have responded to Covid-19.

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At a crossroads: Building foundations for healthy communities
At a crossroads: Building foundations for healthy communities

This report published by APSE, researched and written by the TCPA, is calling on the Government to put public health at the heart of housing delivery; empowering local decision-makers to create healthy and high-quality places.

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So you’ve declared a climate emergency: what next?
So you’ve declared a climate emergency: what next?

A new report published by APSE sets out the steps that UK councils need to consider in translating climate emergency declarations into positive actions to address climate change.

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Spending on parks and neighbourhood services in Scotland
Spending on parks and neighbourhood services in Scotland

A new report by APSE Scotland  - written and researched with the New Policy Institute (NPI) - examines what has happened to spending on parks and open spaces by Scottish local authorities.

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Selling services to schools
Selling services to schools

APSE’s latest research - written in collaboration with CIPFA - looks at the position regarding the provision of a selection of discretionary support services to schools by local authorities.

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APSE Energy Climate Emergency Survey Report
APSE Energy Climate Emergency Survey Report
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Housing for a fairer society: The role of councils in ensuring stronger societies
Housing for a fairer society: The role of councils in ensuring stronger societies

APSE’s latest report with the TCPA exposes the impact of permitted development rights as a potential threat to the health and wellbeing of residents.

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‘Local authority climate emergency declarations’
‘Local authority climate emergency declarations’

You can download a summary report of a new APSE Energy research paper ‘Local authority climate emergency declarations’ as featured in the Guardian which provides an understanding of what declaring a climate emergency can do, when to use it and how it can be used in the context of local councils. 

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Neighbourhood services and sustainable local government
Neighbourhood services and sustainable local government

In this new report published by APSE and written by the New Policy Institute we find that over the nine years from 2009/10 resources devoted to neighbourhood services across Britain fell 27 per cent representing a total of £8.9bn in 2017/18 prices. 

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Ensuring the leadership of the new municipalism
Ensuring the leadership of the new municipalism

APSE’s latest report examines how chief officers in local authorities are experiencing the shifting landscape of local government and how they are making sense of its leadership challenges

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Rebuilding capacity: The case for insourcing contracts
Rebuilding capacity: The case for insourcing contracts

This research explores the growing phenomenon of ‘Insourcing’; bringing back ‘in-house’ the delivery of services. It takes a particular focus on UK local government services and questions the drivers for this increase in insourcing.

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APSE Street Cleanliness Report: Results of the 2017/18 Data Sets
APSE Street Cleanliness Report: Results of the 2017/18 Data Sets

This new report from APSE brings together the results of the most recent street cleanliness survey data drawn from APSE Performance Networks data, now enhanced through the use of APSE’s Land Audit Management System (LAMS). 

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Taking a commercial approach: A guide for local councils in Wales to income generation, trading and charging
Taking a commercial approach: A guide for local councils in Wales to income generation, trading and charging

Increasingly Welsh councils are looking at a more commercial approach to service delivery. This guide explores powers, best practice and the culture shift needed to embrace a commercial culture in local government.

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Risk and commercialisation: A guide for local scrutiny councillors
Risk and commercialisation: A guide for local scrutiny councillors

This latest report from APSE and the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) explores the current landscape around commercialisation and provides a toolkit and guide for councils to help build their own bespoke, locally-relevant governance and scrutiny systems for commercial activity. 

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Street Cleanliness Report: Results of the 2018/2019 survey data sets
Street Cleanliness Report: Results of the 2018/2019 survey data sets

This report is based on a range of robust data sources to inform Street Cleanliness, drawing upon representative samples, as well as analysis against deprivation scores and Street Cleanliness. The findings incorporate 42 local authorities in England and are supported by near to 40,000 transects that have been inspected to arrive at this important analysis. The inspections included assessment of a range of factors including litter, detritus, surface weeds, dog fouling, bins and bin structure and other factors to arrive at the scores and analysis. The results from this publication will also contribute towards Defra’s Litter Dashboard.

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Hollowed out: The impact of financial localisation on neighbourhood services
Hollowed out: The impact of financial localisation on neighbourhood services

In collaboration with the New Policy Institute (NPI), APSE's latest report considers the propspects for the 'neighbourhood services' provided by local government. 

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APSE & LACA survey on school meal uptakes 2017-18
APSE & LACA survey on school meal uptakes 2017-18

APSE are currently working with LACA to develop a State of the Nation report on the impact of Universal Free School Meals. This report will be used to inform government bodies of the impact of the policy on your behalf.

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The new municipalism: Taking back entrepreneurship
The new municipalism: Taking back entrepreneurship

APSE’s latest research examines the initiatives and the emerging practices of municipal entrepreneurialism.

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Taking a commercial approach: A guide for local councils in Scotland to income generation, trading and charging
Taking a commercial approach: A guide for local councils in Scotland to income generation, trading and charging

Reliance on ever decreasing central funding for local councils means stark choices; cut services or find other ways to meet these on-going challenges. That is why APSE Scotland commissioned this guide for our member local councils to explore the dynamics of commercialisation in local government.

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Doing local politics supplementary report - Centre and locality in Scottish politics
Doing local politics supplementary report - Centre and locality in Scottish politics

In 2017, we completed an APSE study of the work and world of the councillor and interconnected worlds of the council officer and the engaged citizen. Having been concerned then with horizontal relations between those who do politics at local level, we were asked to investigate the vertical relationships between local councillors and national politics in Holyrood and Westminster. Recent national and local elections have changed the political landscape in some areas of Scotland, and new political relationships are being forged at national and local levels as well as between them. We have therefore created a supplementary piece of research based on six interviews: two with MSPs, of whom one was a constituency MSP and the other a regional MSP, and four with local councillors. This supplementary paper is therefore intended to provide a further dynamic to the original report and take account of the emerging political landscape in Scotland.

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Delivering affordable homes in a changing world: Ensuring councils can meet local housing need
Delivering affordable homes in a changing world: Ensuring councils can meet local housing need

The latest research from APSE and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) finds that a lack of investment in genuine affordable housing alongside deregulation of planning is reducing local authorities’ ability to secure the homes the nation needs.

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Bringing order to chaos: How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?
Bringing order to chaos: How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?

Research published by APSE and written and researched by the Local Governance Research Unit at De Montfort University finds that as public service provision continues to be fragmented, diverse and largely unaccountable to the local public, local councils, as the only democratically elected institutions at a local level, are best placed to make sure that local networks are harnessed to ensure all actors and agencies are working in the best interests of the local area.

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Strong public support for housing safety inspections to be in the hands of local councils
Strong public support for housing safety inspections to be in the hands of local councils

A new poll by APSE and Survation shows that the public are almost three times more likely to support local councils being responsible for local Buildings Inspections work rather than private inspectors

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Accountability and scrutiny: The issues for local government in a changing political environment
Accountability and scrutiny: The issues for local government in a changing political environment

This report by APSE and the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) examines the role of good governance and scrutiny, highlighting how this is critical to the local government decision-making process.

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Governing in and against austerity: International lessons from eight cities
Governing in and against austerity: International lessons from eight cities

This international research study conducted as a collaborative approach led by De Montfort University explores responses to austerity in leading European Cities analysing responses and the impact of austerity policies at a municipal level.

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The impact of devolution upon frontline services
The impact of devolution upon frontline services

Research by APSE and CLES explores the impact that devolution in England is having upon the provision and delivery of frontline services in local government.

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Doing local politics in Scotland: Councillors, officers and communities
Doing local politics in Scotland: Councillors, officers and communities

This new research for APSE Scotland focuses on the three worlds of local politics – that of the citizen, the council officer, and the councillor – and is interested in exploring what it takes to do politics in each of these worlds. Each entail different kinds of political work, which is undertaken on different terms and conditions. However, it is clear that these worlds only make sense in relation to one another.

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Bricks – Mortar – Money
Bricks – Mortar – Money

The latest report from APSE and CIPFA explores the impact of property investment as a potential means of securing an additional and sustainable source of revenue for local authorities.

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Building homes, creating communities: Ensuring councils provide innovative solutions to meeting housing need
Building homes, creating communities: Ensuring councils provide innovative solutions to meeting housing need

The latest research from APSE and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) reveals a desperate housing crisis, with councils warning of ‘severe’ need for affordable housing.

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Redefining Neighbourhoods: Beyond austerity?
Redefining Neighbourhoods: Beyond austerity?

This report, by APSE and the New Policy Institute (NPI) explores the impact of austerity on neighbourhood services, and warns of the consequences of this continuing downward trajectory in funding which risks falling to a 60-year low.

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Ways forward: Alternatives to merging councils in Wales
Ways forward: Alternatives to merging councils in Wales

A look at the alternatives available for the Welsh Assembly Government to create a more flexible and fluid system within which councils can construct arrangements for joint-working and co-operation which suited their specific needs

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Neighbourhood Services: The public want more of their taxes spent in local areas
Neighbourhood Services: The public want more of their taxes spent in local areas

Collaborative research by APSE and Survation shows that the majority of the public would prefer the Government to invest in local areas.

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Work it out: Creating local systems of employability support
Work it out: Creating local systems of employability support

This collaborative research between APSE and New Local government Network (NLGN) looks at the role that local government can play to support employability in their local areas.

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The engine of the council? Evaluating frontline productivity in local government
The engine of the council? Evaluating frontline productivity in local government

New research, developed by Public Intelligence and APSE, highlights the importance of productivity in today's economy. It focuses on how local authority frontline services have managed to increase their productivity in recent years, despite any recent hardships.

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Working at the frontline of austerity: The Ensuring Council and Workforce Planning
Working at the frontline of austerity: The Ensuring Council and Workforce Planning

This report argues that effective workforce planning can help to future-proof public service delivery by opening up a collective dialogue about the future shape and scope of public service, and the role of local employees and communities.

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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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