Paul O'Brien

Paul O'Brien

Paul O'Brien is chief executive of APSE
  • Time for a system reset

    19 July 2022

    Paul O'Brien says the new Prime Minister should think about a system reset away from a failed centralised approach and put the ability and talent of local government to use to make action happen on the ground.


  • Planning for the Future

    07 June 2022

    Paul O’Brien and Fiona Howie outline the key findings from a report that argues the UK will not meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets without tackling emissions from homes.


  • Let’s work together on the most important agenda of our time

    25 May 2022

    Paul O'Brien says policy on permitted development rights 'continues to work against a co-ordinated approach at local level on reshaping place and making developers contribute to this process'.


  • Think big, act local, start now

    29 March 2022

    Communities will look to their local authority for further support with the cost of living crisis, says Paul O'Brien. Councils will also need to provide leadership in decarbonisation, he adds.


  • 'Roaring Twenties' could end up as a whimper

    01 February 2022

    'As with the 1920s, today's economic and political landscape is strewn with messy public policy issues that could stifle any roar into a whimper', says chief executive of APSE Paul O'Brien.


  • Will funding land next month to help levelling up?

    17 November 2021

    Councils will await with interest December’s annual financial settlement to see where funding lands at the local level, says Paul O'Brien. Will this signify the beginning of significant attempts at levelling up, he asks.


  • Good Cop or Bad Cop?

    16 November 2021

    Financial predators may already be circling in answer to the question of where local government’s funding for climate action will come from, say Paul O’Brien and Mo Baines.


  • It is the right time to invest in all of our futures

    24 October 2021

    As we head towards COP26, Paul O’Brien says we should not settle for anything less than a key role for councils in the delivery of the plan for net-zero or the consequences could be catastrophic.


  • The clock is tickling

    19 September 2021

    Local government is awaiting the outcome of some important announcements in the next couple of months, says Paul O'Brien. Will the Government trust councils to crack on?


  • Let’s see some fair play

    14 September 2021

    A new report makes the case for a radical new approach to secure their future of local sports and leisure services, including a call for longer-term investment, say Paul O’Brien, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Debbie Kaye.


  • 'Growing our own' jobs will require investment in local councils

    27 July 2021

    If Government wants to maximise the bang for its buck in levelling up the country, then it must start investing in local councils and allow them to skill up local people from all backgrounds, argues Paul O'Brien.


  • System reset required: go to settings

    21 July 2021

    As the APSE Local Government Commission 2030 launches its findings, Paul O’Brien says we need a big bang reset to resolve the issues facing local authorities.


  • Reaping the benefits from urban green space need not cost the earth

    02 June 2021

    Urban areas, even those that are densely populated, can still play host to biologically diverse plant and animal life, especially if they are supported to do this by sensitive and intelligent local land management, says Paul O'Brien.


  • How do we empower and support councillors?

    08 April 2021

    With Super Thursday looming on May 6, Paul O'Brien argues that a radical system reset may be needed; one that supports the role of councillors, values their role and is able to attract people from all walks of life.


  • Small steps matter on climate change

    09 February 2021

    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

    02 February 2021

    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

    03 December 2020

    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?

    24 November 2020

    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

    29 September 2020

    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

    01 September 2020

     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.