Paul O'Brien is chief executive of APSE
Small steps matter on climate change
Tackling climate change is becoming fundamental to everything we do. Knowing how your service can make a contribution to the overarching objective of net zero is a good starting point, says Paul O'Brien.
Councils are key to our climate goals
There is universal agreement that climate change targets can’t be achieved if councils are excluded from the approach, says Paul O’Brien. He looks at what they are calling for if they are to be at the heart of delivering climate goals.
The sector needs to reflect the trust placed in us by the public
The message from the public is loud and clear, says Paul O’Brien. ‘They like, value and trust local neighbourhood level services’. He asks: 'So, will this public trust in councils continue? To use a lawyer’s response "it all rather depends".'
Another false dawn?
Next month’s energy White Paper and a longer-term comprehensive spending review than currently proposed will really tell us whether the PM's 'Green Industrial Revolution' lives up to its billing or is another false dawn, says Paul O'Brien.
Engage some of the pandemic's casualties in a more locally-based recovery
The upcoming comprehensive spending review represents a great opportunity for ministers to show they mean business by putting in place adequate resources for councils, says Paul O'Brien.
Building foundations for community health
A new report calls on the Government to put public health at the heart of housing delivery. Paul O’Brien of APSE and Dr Daniel Slade highlight the main recommendations.
By investing in parks society will reap long-term rewards
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'.