Barking & Dagenham LBC
Building a commercial ecosystem through growth-focused transformation
Barking & Dagenham has a whole council approach to commercialisation. This is central to its transformation programme and new operating model, facilitating entrepreneurship in ways not possible in a traditional local authority structure. The large and diverse commercial portfolio the council has designed and developed is carefully curated to maximise synergies and relationships between the different ventures and entities for additional financial gain and to deliver social value impact. The ecosystem of commercial activities serves a single, joined-up commercial strategy, an integral part of the council’s overall growth-focused transformation agenda and long-term financial future.
East Hampshire DC
A new model of public service
Since 2014, East Hampshire DC has been developing commercial skills and an entrepreneurial spirit in its staff. Following several income-generating routes, the council has spread risk and seen impressive returns. In 2017-18, the council’s initiatives generated a total of £455,000, supporting a reduction in council tax of 2.6% in 2017-18 and a freeze in 2018-19. The council is also using research and insight to make services more efficient. It provides digital options to those who will use them, freeing up resources to focus on the residents who really need the council’s help – with welfare being one of its top priorities.
The high-flying council
With an unflinching commitment to supporting and encouraging business growth, the large council’s entrepreneurial work generates income and creates jobs for its residents. Returns from investments in an old military site, wise use of assets, purchases of commercial properties and investment in health facilities have helped pay for cross-council services. This has put the council in a robust position when responding to the impact of funding cuts from central government and the increasing demand for quality from its customers.
Following a period of austerity, rather than reduce services, the council embarked on an ambitious entrepreneurial vision to collaboratively create an exciting opportunity for growth. This was embedded in the council’s corporate ambition plan to “be more business like”. Projects launched include Project Phoenix in July 2015, aiming to reach cost neutrality in the environment division by 2020 with an income target of £19m. The council also launched an innovative new commercial service delivery model in adult social care, leading to better resident services plus increased income. It has implemented 12 major entrepreneurial commercial projects and is on course to achieve its ambitious target. In 2017-18, it exceeded its annual income target by more than 10%.
Lincoln City Council
Beyond the salami slice
Responding to the challenging financial environment the council has embraced a forward-thinking, ambitious and commercial approach to maintain a sound financial position. It has a strong record of moving from traditional cost-cutting exercises to more ambitious opportunities, approached with a commercial mindset. The council can show many examples where an entrepreneurial approach has been taken, including investing in infrastructure to deliver growth and income, property investments, asset reviews and rationalisation to raise finance, partnership working on shared services and developments on service income generation.
South Staffordshire Council
Marrying public sector values with commercial returns
South Staffordshire Council’s entrepreneurial ambition is to marry public sector values with commercial returns. Its new efficiency and income plan is generating annual income of £1.1m, giving it the breathing space to think and do things differently. The council manages commercial risk by partnering with experts in their field, combining that with scrutiny from members based on their specialist knowledge. Its pipeline commercial and asset investments will generate significant new income, safeguarding its ability to deliver ongoing balanced budgets. The council is proud that 96% of residents rate South Staffordshire as a good place to live and it can continue to deliver the fourth lowest district council tax in England.
Innovative, commercial and enterprising
Thurrock Council is possibly the first top-tier authority to have projected a balanced budget without cutting services for at least the next five years. It is generating additional in-year income to invest in priority services and is fast becoming self-sufficient from national revenue grant funding. This has been achieved through implementing a whole-scale council spending review alongside impressive strategies for increasing commercial earnings and investment portfolios.
Peter Bungard, chief executive, Gloucestershire CC
Allen Graham, chief executive, Rushcliffe BC
John O’Brien, chief executive, London Councils
Steve Rumbelow, chief executive, Rochdale BC
Dan Worsley, chief operating officer, Cipfa