Having to manage with less central government funding over the next five years is a sizeable challenge, the spending cuts are truly unprecedented and authorities must continue to ensure they have adequate resources to meet the needs of their communities. To help manage the budget shortfalls local authorities have been given greater freedoms and powers to run their own affairs. At the centre of an array of measures the general power of competence means authorities will have “all the same powers that an individual generally has, which will enable them to do anything apart from that which is specifically prohibited”. Councils can use the power to set up banks, develop property, run new services and own assets. There are new opportunities to innovate, stimulate economic growth and reap the rewards from any funds raised.
In addition the Open Public Services White Paper sets out new rights for public sector staff to start their own enterprise with over £10m of funding to support new mutuals and joint ventures. The plans give greater autonomy to existing public sector services and enable independent organisations to take on services. The aim is to drive up quality, ensure value for money and open up services to new partners and providers who can provide finance, innovation and expertise. Under proposals in the local government resource review, local authorities will have greater financial autonomy and could be allowed to keep a larger share of the money they receive from business rates. The aim is to attract business into their areas, regenerate local economies and “ensure the benefits of economic growth are reflected in the resources councils have”. Driving economic growth at a local level could see councils financially rewarded for supporting local firms and creating jobs rather than being reliant on central grants. There are new opportunities to utilise the public sector estate, make the most of intellectual property and collaborate with commercial partners to create revenue.
At Public Sector Income Generation you can learn how to raise funds, provide a return of surplus or help to offset service charges. Income can be generated by providing chargeable services, advertising space, cash-collecting services, utilising renewable energy and delivering back office functions for other organisations.
Chair: Colin Cram
Former Chief Executive, North West Centre of Excellence and Director, Marc1 Ltd
Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP (invited)
Keynote Address: Alison Scott
Assistant Director, Local Government Finance and Policy, CIPFA
Cllr Peter Fleming
Leader, Sevenoaks District Council; Chairman of the Local Government Group Improvement Programme Board
Director of Policy (Finance), British Property Federation
Chief Executive, Association for Public Service Excellence
Council Leader, Wokingham Borough Council
Further details of the programme can be found online. To register use marketing code SYS1.