Paul O'Brien

Paul O'Brien

Paul O'Brien is chief executive of APSE
  • By investing in parks society will reap long-term rewards

    09 June 2020

    Over the past few months many have turned to parks as their daily release from the pressures of lockdown, says Paul O'Brien. The multiple benefits parks bring to society make them one of the best long-term investments Governments can make, he adds.


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

    13 May 2020

    Paul O’Brien and Dr Peter Kenway warn that, while the eyes of the world have focused on COVID-19, an even bigger catastrophe is unfolding which needs action from elected leaders at every level.


  • Follow the money

    29 April 2020

    As councils grapple with COVID-19 it is not just the extra expenses incurred but the loss of earned income that must be addressed, says Paul O’ Brien, adding that we cannot bail out businesses and fail to bail out the frontline.


  • Don't lose the increased recognition due to a failure to fund services

    15 April 2020

    It would be a tragedy for local government if an increased recognition of its role in keeping society functioning in the toughest of circumstances is quickly lost by a failure to properly fund these very services in the future, argues Paul O'Brien.


  • There’s no quick fix to tackling climate change

    19 February 2020

    If local councils are to capitalise on the zeitgeist of the climate emergency then they need some serious money and new powers – and time is of the essence, argues Paul O’Brien.


  • First and foremost we need clarity on finance

    18 December 2019

    Getting ‘Brexit Done’ should open up an oven-ready settlement for local government to implement real change, says chief executive of  APSE Paul O’Brien.


  • The public want to see clear improvements across neighbourhood services

    05 December 2019

    Paul O'Brien says the public will be fairly unforgiving if, having raised their expectations on public spending during the election campaign, they don't start to see evidence of this happening locally..


  • Austerity's toll on competency framework requirements

    09 October 2019

    If austerity is coming to an end then maybe it's time some of those who have held frontline services together got some reward and recognition for doing so, says Paul O'Brien.


  • What an opportunity for a housing minister to be radical and bold

    06 August 2019

    Paul O'Brien says there needs to be a wider recognition at a central and local level of the linkages between place-making and the delivery of homes in terms of health and wellbeing, life chances and local economies.


  • The time to act is now

    12 June 2019

    The volume is going to continuously increase on the climate change public policy agenda, according to Paul O'Brien - and local government could and should lead the way.


  • Mr Benn and the rise of the super directorate

    16 April 2019

    It is clear the role of chief officer is rapidly being reframed - and they often find themselves in a Mr Benn-like world, according to Paul O'Brien.


  • It's time to talk about tax

    19 February 2019

    Paul O'Brien argues It’s time for an honest conversation about tax in the UK - and the 'smoke and mirrors' approach to the funding of public services needs to stop.


  • Risk and commercialisation: Why scrutiny matters

    01 February 2019

    Early engagement and streamlining of scrutiny into commercialisation decisions will provide scrutiny councillors with the knowledge and understanding to bring added value to the commercialisation journey, say Paul O'Brien and Ed Hammond


  • Sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer

    05 December 2018

    Asked what he thought the impact of Brexit would be on local government frontline services, Paul O'Brien was able to give an answer which sounded akin to the famous Donald Rumsfeld response about ‘known knowns and unknown unknowns'.


  • pluggedin

    10 October 2018

    Paul O'Brien ponders the new programme to tackle childhood obesity, and can't help wondering if any joined-up policy thinking is taking place on domestic matters while the shadow of Brexit looms large.


  • Beyond social care

    11 September 2018

    When it comes to the question of what the public want their tax money spent on, social care is, of course, top of the list, but it’s time for a new funding plan that also provides for other, highly valued neighbourhood services, says Paul O’Brien.


  • Another week, another warning

    20 June 2018

    Will politicians, civil servants and policy-makers show the insight and bravery to think in generational terms or will short-termism continue to triumph, asks Paul O'Brien.


  • It is time for a new municipalism

    27 February 2018

    Recent events in Northamptonshire hammered home the fact local government has reached a financial tipping point. Anyone who thinks the problems faced at the council are unique is in for a rude awakening, writes Paul O'Brien.


  • Local solutions are best

    24 January 2018

    Paul O’Brien reflects on the collapse of Carillion and urges local government to plan for the long-term.


  • Parks and recreation: why we need to invest

    05 December 2017

    Public spaces and parks are vital to the prevention agenda. Surely that's worth investing in, writes Paul O'Brien.