Falling revenues, political and economic uncertainty and austerity have all increased pressure on local authorities and other public sector bodies, and present a real risk to their ambitions to deliver effective services and build economic and cultural development in their areas. While there has long been talk of the need to commercialise public services, failure to do so now threatens their ability to safeguard local public services. Conversely, ministers are urging caution about commercialisation with some raising legitimate concerns about risk.
We consulted over 150 local authorities, conducted in-depth interviews and hosted a roundtable, gaining views from senior executives, elected members, trading company directors, local enterprise partnerships and the private sector to provide real insight into this rapidly developing agenda.
Our report addresses critical issues such as:
- How financially viable is public sector-led commercial activity and what are the options for the sector?
- What can we learn from the successes and failures of local authorities and other public bodies so far?
- In which areas do local authorities expect additional revenues in the future?
- How will risk be managed in light of concerns from ministers?
- Does the sector have the skills to deliver its commercial objectives?