Report launch: Commercial Edge: renewing the case for the local investment state: Tuesday 29th June from 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
About this event
In the discussion to mark the launch of the forthcoming report by Human Engine and Localis, ‘Commercial Edge: renewing the case for the local investment state’, we wanted to seize the opportunity to talk about the purpose and current culture of council commercial activity.
COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to councils reliant on commercial revenue and charges to plug the gap on insufficient resources and increased demand. Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has gone on record in saying government will not bail out councils for struggling commercial investments. Furthermore, our media-fuelled narrative depicts council commercial activity as inherently risky and to be avoided.
However, in the context of a growing local government funding gap which isn’t likely to close this decade, and amid a continued lack of long-term financial assurance and stability for the sector, the onus on councils to remain commercially savvy will if anything become ever more pressing.
If instead, we were to boldly face the challenges for the opportunities they are, a new place-based assessment of council commercialism could ask:
- How can we reframe the conversation to being one about commercialism as a lynchpin of the local state’s resilience and necessary risk management?
- Beyond this, how can we make the positive case for an entrepreneurial local government as a crucible of public value creation – delivering services to residents and businesses that are useful, beneficial and profitable with a purpose?
- To what extent can council commercialism restore place prosperity and mitigate the scarring effects of COVID-19 on our high streets, town centres and communities?
- Andrew Burns, Associate Director, CIPFA
- Jonathon Noble, managing director, Human Engine
- Trevor Scott, chief executive, Wealden District Council
- Cllr David Simmonds MP, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner and Hillingdon LBC
- Chair: Jonathan Werran, chief executive, Localis
Access the YouTube recording to hear the debate:
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