William Eichler 14 July 2016

Fear putting councils off commercialisation, report says

Local authority leaders are open to commercialisation but are held back by fear and lack of experience, new report finds.

A new report from Civica revealed 40% of council leaders say commercialisation plays some part in their current strategy, but only 4% of public sector CEOs and CFOs said they have significant commercial expertise.

The report, produced in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), learnt 36% feel positive progress is being held back by a lack of understanding of what the market needs.

It also found 56% of respondents had concerns about the risks involved in commercialisation, while 56% and 40% of leaders thought discomfort about new models and a restrictive culture in the public sector respectively were holding things back.

Despite concerns, those with a commercial strategy say commercialisation gives them more control over developments in the community, builds closer relationships with the people they serve and supports the creation of new jobs.

Wayne Story, group CEO of Civica, concluded: ‘Local authorities are juggling a wide-range of transformational activities. While adding commercialisation to the mix may seem daunting, with no sign of financial and service demand pressures abating – it’s essential.

‘As always, those who make the journey with the most passion, commitment to success and flexibility will be the ones who see the best results. And ultimately will be the ones who most improve the lives of the communities in which they operate.’

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