With APSEs headquarters being based in Manchester many in our Northern Region see themselves as being the soul of the organisation, although other areas would argue this point.
Our annual performance networks seminar takes place in Blackpool with 450 delegates in attendance. It always annoys me the way local government officers and members are portrayed in the media when I see the enthusiasm and hunger to learn that exists at this type of event.
Last week's BMJ article, which accused local authorities of 'raiding' public health budgets to prop up other services, shows a surprising lack of insight into the reasons why councils actually took on the public health role in the first place. It also fails to grasp well-evidenced connections between health and wider social factors that are dependent upon public services such as housing, sport and leisure, greenspace or school meals.
Over the past few months, APSE and our academic partners have been looking at what the future role of elected members will be between now and 2020 - and sadly the forecast is for stormy waters.