Laura Sharman 06 October 2020

Councils need 'right culture, skills and systems' for commercial strategies

Councils must have the right culture, skills and systems to unlock the benefits and mitigate the risks of commercialisation, a report has concluded today.

Published by the Auditor General for Wales, the report identifies the seven building blocks for an effective commercial approach

This includes agreeing what commercialisation means for the council, evaluating their current performance, and understanding the impact of commercial choices on residents.

The report states: ‘If the approach to commercialisation is not well managed or does not deliver what is intended, it can also place the council’s financial health at risk. And the more a council adopts a commercial mind-set, the more it pushes beyond its comfort zone and management of risk.’

Auditor General, Adrian Crompton, said: ‘Should councils decide to invest in commercial opportunities, they need to be clear what the benefits are for the council, local people and the wider community. Being open about where money is being invested and the benefits this will bring is essential to get buy in from stakeholders.’

The Auditor General for Wales has also published a report today examining how local government finances have coped with the pandemic.

It found that Welsh councils have coped well so far partly due to the level of reserves held, but there is future uncertainty on how the financial challenge will be met in the future.

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