LGC’s essential daily briefing
Our report looks to better understand commercial activities types, the challenges authorities face and some of the biggest successes to date.
The historic naval city, currently with a population of 264,000, is hoping to grow to 300,000 by 2032.
Like many district councils, Sevenoaks DC has in recent years been forced to respond to dwindling financial support from central government.
“What we wanted to do is to get the right permanent people in post here and then create the right cadre of managers,” says chief executive Eric Robinson.
It would be a loss to the sector if growth in commercial property investment throws a shadow across other areas.
Our roundtable discussion showed that each local authority has its own unique commercial objectives, means and methods of delivery.
Many authorities have adopted corporate models when looking to trade, deliver homes, acquire assets or regenerate areas.
As councils grow their commercial approaches – whether from trading internal services or creating housing companies – having a clear strategy is crucial.
Many have noted irony in ministers latterly urging caution about commercialism in local government.
LGC’s Confidence Survey 2018 showed a sector in financial distress, with 34% of respondents expecting to issue a section 114 notice within four years.
As an adviser to many public sector bodies, DWF has seen a pronounced increase in commercial activity among local authorities in the past decade.