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Association for Public Service Excellence
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Current Research Programme

Better business: Councils shaping markets for public value
Better business: Councils shaping markets for public value

In a new research report ‘Better business: Councils shaping markets for public value’, which was commissioned by APSE and written by NLGN, the organisations argue that whilst local businesses can bring valuable social, environmental, and economic benefits to local places, some private sector markets are failing to meet social needs and creating negative outcomes relating to ill health, financial vulnerability, and poor educational attainment which are picked up by local public services. Whilst national governments have a clear role to play in fixing these, local intervention can be preferable, or complementary, to a wider national approach.

The report provides a range of positive recommendations to enable councils to nudge or ‘budge’ business towards more socially responsible products and business practices.

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Ensuring Change: Building capacity in local government
Ensuring Change: Building capacity in local government

This latest APSE research ‘Ensuring Change: Building capacity in local government’ produced in association with Public Intelligence explores how, in spite of the current economic conditions, councils remain as the ‘engine room’ of their localities.

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Ensuring Collaboration: One way ahead for public-private partnerships
Ensuring Collaboration: One way ahead for public-private partnerships

‘Ensuring Collaboration: One way ahead for public-private partnerships’ aims to stimulate further discussion over how elected members, local government officers and public service providers can work collectively to manage change and transformation in public-private partnerships.

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Local Water: The challenge and the prize for the ensuring council as a steward of water
Local Water: The challenge and the prize for the ensuring council as a steward of water

A new report has been published by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), which demonstrates how councils can be effective local water stewards. 

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Ensuring health and well-being: a self-assessment tool for health and well-being boards
Ensuring health and well-being: a self-assessment tool for health and well-being boards

APSE, in association with De Montfort University as part of the KTP programme, has produced a self-assessment toolkit to help health and well-being boards navigate their way through complex issues and find solutions that suit local circumstances. Following the transfer of responsibilities for public health under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, boards now face important strategic decisions. The toolkit has been designed to help them.

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The role and value of local authority assets in town centres
The role and value of local authority assets in town centres

Local authority assets can play a major part in revitalising the UK's ailing town centres, but this is being overlooked in current national policy, according to a report published today by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

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Innovation on the frontline
Innovation on the frontline

This report is based on research, undertaken in partnership between APSE and IPPR North, to explore ways in which local authorities can harness the best ideas of their workforce in order to use innovation to improve services.

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The Road to 2020: A manifesto for the Ensuring Council
The Road to 2020: A manifesto for the Ensuring Council

Unprecedented financial problems coupled with demographic and environmental pressures call for a fundamental rethink of what the future role of local government should be and how effective services can be provided in the next decade and beyond.

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Stronger resource efficiency for desirable communities
Stronger resource efficiency for desirable communities

In these times of austerity it is important that councils maximise sustainable benefits from their assets to ensure ‘value for money’, in all sense of the phrase, for local communities. This is why the concept of ‘resource efficiency’ becomes so critical.

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The Ensuring Council: An alternative vision for the future of local government
The Ensuring Council: An alternative vision for the future of local government

As local authorities strive to address the impacts on their communities of the economic downturn and reductions in public spending, a debate is taking place about alternative visions of the future shape of local government itself.

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Proof of delivery: A review of the role of co-ops and mutuals in local public service provision
Proof of delivery: A review of the role of co-ops and mutuals in local public service provision

A review of the role of co-operatives and mutuals in local public service provision. The interest in using co-ops and mutuals to deliver public services has never been greater – not least because of the Government’s commitment to creating a ‘Big Society’ through introducing a greater diversity of public service providers.

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Municipal Entrepreneurship
Municipal Entrepreneurship

A criticism aimed at the public sector by its detractors is that it is monolithic, bureaucratic and incapable of change. This report sets out to challenge this myth by demonstrating that innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well in local government and rather than being a rare commodity, it is flourishing in local authorities up and down the country.

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Shared services and collaborative working in a Welsh context: Applying theory to practice
Shared services and collaborative working in a Welsh context: Applying theory to practice

A report commissioned by APSE Wales, through APSE’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership with De Montfort University, that considers some of the practical issues involved in sharing services across local authority boundaries.

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The Ensuring Council: Governance, neighbourhoods and service delivery
The Ensuring Council: Governance, neighbourhoods and service delivery

With the economic recession having a devastating effect on communities, families and businesses and beginning to impact upon front-line local government services and the future prospects for public spending, the time is ripe to review many of the initiatives and developments that have been at the forefront of local government policy and legislation over the past few years.

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Exploring the social and economic benefits of renewable energy schemes
Powerful Impacts: Exploring the social and economic benefits of renewable energy schemes

APSE has been vociferous in highlighting ways to maximise the local economic benefit of public investment and promoting sustainable energy projects. This report is unique in bringing these two pressing agendas together and exploring the impact of renewable energy on local economies. At a time of austerity and recession, renewables and energy efficiency schemes represent a real opportunity to invest in local economic growth, with a government guaranteed funding mechanism.

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Insourcing: A guide to bringing local authority services back in house
Insourcing: A guide to bringing local authority services back in house

The word ‘outsourcing’ is common parlance in both the public and private sectors, but the practice of ‘insourcing’ has received relatively little attention. APSE embarked upon its examination of the trend towards insourcing – or returning to delivery of services by in-house providers – before the effects of the global economic downturn were fully evident.

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Insourcing update: The value of returning local authority services in-house in an era of budget constraints
Insourcing update: The value of returning local authority services in-house in an era of budget constraints

This research commissioned for UNISON gives the detailed evidence of major contracts being brought to an end and services coming back in-house, benefitting service users, workers, and council taxpayers alike. This report was written by APSE under a commission from UNISON and is free to download.  

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More bang for the public buck
More bang for the public buck

A guide to using procurement to achieve community benefits

Global economic and environmental instability and the policy responses to this are focusing minds on what can be done to make communities more resilient locally. As public sector resources are squeezed, there is a need to achieve ever-greater value for every public pound.

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Measure for measure: Using performance information in tough times
Measure for measure: Using performance information in tough times

Local government in the UK faces tough times. Money from central government is drastically reduced; income from council tax and other sources stagnates. Councils have to make difficult decisions about savings, service reductions, and cuts. Those decisions need supporting with good evidence about value for money, about what works, and about the likely impacts of different decisions.

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Local authority Sport and Recreation Services in England: Where next?
Local authority Sport and Recreation Services in England: Where next?

In the wake of the Coalition Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2010 (HM Treasury, 2010a), Emergency Budget of 2010 (HM Treasury, 2010b) and subsequent local government finance settlements (Berman and Keep, 2011; Department of Communities and Local Government, 2010), this report begins to assess the impact of the ‘cuts’ for Sport and Recreation Services (SRS), responses to the ‘cuts’ and the options for SRS moving forward.

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The Virtuous Green Circle
The Virtuous Green Circle

Creating a revolving fund for local authority solar energy

While money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees, the financial benefits of protecting the environment are increasingly apparent.

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Transition to the green economy: The vital role of the ensuring council
Transition to the green economy: The vital role of the ensuring council

While money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees, the financial benefits of protecting the environment are increasingly apparent.

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Creating the resilient local economies exploring economic footprint of public services
Creating the resilient local economies exploring economic footprint of public services

It is true to say that the Government believes that vibrant and successful local economies play a vital part in shaping the places where we live and work and that local authorities have an important role to play in ensuring the sustainability of local economies through the stewardship of their local areas.

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Towards a future for public employment
Towards a future for public employment

This is the first report in a research programme designed to examine key contemporary issues in the delivery of public services. We have been motivated to embark upon this programme of research by a sense of frustration.

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APSE Member views on the community right to challenge
APSE Member views on the community right to challenge

During late February and March 2011 APSE surveyed members using an online system. Although the Decentralisation and Localism Bill, in the context of the ‘Community Right to Challenge’, applies only to English local authorities we extended the survey to ensure opinions and experience could be gathered from across the UK. A total of 140 responses were received.

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Rapid environmental impact assessment research report
Rapid environmental impact assessment research report

This new report from the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) provides a valuable, practical toolkit which managers and decision makers in councils throughout the UK can use to assess the impact of their public services on the environment. We commissioned it as part of the legacy of PSNet, to be an important part of the improvement process within public services.

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Think Twice: The role of elected members in commissioning
Think Twice: The role of elected members in commissioning

The recesssion means that local people need high quality public services like never before. Local economies depend on the flow of public money not drying up. Now is the time for elected members to assert their rights and duties to ensure commissioning protects high quality, democratically accountable, services.

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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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