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RSSPaul O'Brien

Paul O’Brien is the Chief Executive of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

Based in Manchester the organisation has 250 local authorities in membership from throughout the U.K. He has overall strategic responsibility for the management and development of all the Association’s activities in the United Kingdom.

Following a period as Acting Director, he was officially appointed Director in March 2000. He represents the Association on the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministers, Strategic Partnership Taskforce and the Local Government Procurement Forum.

He has given evidence to various parliamentary select committees and participated in numerous lobbying meetings with Government Ministers, whilst representing the Association.

Paul is also on the editorial board of the MJ. Paul was previously the Association’s Principal Advisor ( Scotland), with a remit to develop links with the Scottish Parliament and associated local government agencies.

Paul has 20 years experience in local government. Prior to his appointment with APSE, Paul worked with South Lanarkshire Council in the areas of CCT and Best Value. When previously a trainee manager with Strathclyde Regional Council, Paul spent two years on secondment to APSE at the Scottish Secretariat from 1994 to 1996.

Paul graduated in 1998 with a Masters Degree in Business Administration, having carried out his dissertation on the transition from a CCT environment towards the development of Best Value.

Blog posts by Paul O'Brien

Public health: Prevention not cure the best medicine

June 21st, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

While there are few surprises when it comes to local government’s ability to attract the blame for issues of national significance they have had very little control over, even a cynic like myself was shocked at how quickly they became the whipping boys on public health when recent life expectancy lea...

Time to unleash frontline innovation

May 31st, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

It's an old cliché that staff are an organisations number one asset but just because it's old doesn't make it any less true. My view is that more now than ever we need to harness the ideas of frontline staff to make services more efficient and effective.Those on the frontline who interface with communi...

Developing commercialisation strategies in local government

May 8th, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

This blog is based on my recent article published in the MJ Never has the need for local government service delivery teams to have a commercialisation strategy been more apparent than at present.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />With diminishing budge...

Local authorities leading the response to youth unemployment

March 21st, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

 APSE's latest research shows how local authorities can take a lead in ensuring the lives of a generation of young people are not blighted by long-term unemployment. Our new report, 'Tackling youth unemployment: Local authorities leading the response', looks at what councils are already doing to addres...

Green shoots of recovery?

March 6th, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

Visited Telford and Wrekin Council today to catch up with the Managing Director Richard Partington and find out what current initiatives the Council are working on. And there was plenty to hear about and see.Despite the current recession and ongoing austerity measures the town centre in Telford is c...

Tough times, tough measures

February 20th, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> Local government has been facing tough times for a number of years now and yet the longer austerity rolls on, the more demand on services grows.  Housing, social care, school meals and leisure are among the many services facing up...

Local government and its use of social media

January 23rd, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

Great day today at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood where we held our first conference on the usage of social media in local government, #apsesmI gave my views on how social media fits within the debate that is taking place on the future of local government, how the concept of 'channel shift' is being developed and my own experiences of engaging in the...

Why would you want to be a Councillor?

January 14th, 2013 by Paul O'Brien

Viewed with suspicion by some, belittled by others, derided by the media both locally and nationally, over worked and underpaid. For some a wider career ending move with little reward at the end, with even the possibility of a small pension set to be removed by Ministers. Managing a significant but ...

Developing a commercial edge in local government services

December 3rd, 2012 by Paul O'Brien

More and more councils are emphasising the development of commercial strategies and skills in order to hold services together and give them a fighting chance in the current age of austerity.Some commentators may view local government, innovation and entrepreneurship as unlikely bedfellows. But I see e...

Leaner and greener: one year on

November 20th, 2012 by Paul O'Brien

Participated in a really interesting event today on the transformation of the public sectors estate. Organised by Westminster sustainable business forum the event was a follow on from last years launch of the influential research report 'Leaner and Greener: Delivering effective estate management.' This i...