Agenda item

Commercialisation and Income Generation

Minutes:

The Director of Commercialisation gave a short presentation (the slides are contained within the meeting papers).  The following key points were stated:

 

  • Officers are working towards a Commercialisation Strategy but the scoping, and assessment needs to be completed before the implementation can begin.
  • For this to be effective it requires a complete culture change across many parts of the organisation.  Officers now need to be more business focussed and be ‘business ready’
  • The Council needs to be aware and measure the resources it is consuming.
  • Departmental plans need to be smart and have clear obtainable commercial objectives
  • It was confirmed that both Cllr Pearce and Alexander are members of the Commercialisation & Innovation Working Group.
  • The council would benefit from having  an incubator process in place to help further this approach
  • The role of the Director of Commercialisation was discussed. It was explained that part of it was to be a mentor across the organisation.  The efficiency savings were also being monitored across the organisation.
  • Some areas need more encouragement to embrace change than others.  But it’s a cultural change that will be cascaded down through the organisation.  

 

Members asked the following questions:

  • Members asked about ‘best value’ as described within the report and if factors other than just the financial ones would be made explicit.  The response was yes they would be. 
  • A Member asked if there were examples of schemes that were now operating in a more ‘business like’ manner that the Commission could begin looking at.  The response was yes and the examples given were Blaise Nurseries, the built environment and fleet services).  
  • A Member asked how the Planning Team had been involved to date.  Not yet was the response but fee structures were being looked at to make sure they were in line with other authorities and that managing resources within the teams was crucial i.e. the current Government Strategy asks if/how property developers are being supported through planning processes. This now needs to be assessed.
  • A Member suggested that what was being described was more related to efficiency savings rather than generating income. In their view it didn’t sound particularly radical or seem very likely to generate cash.  They questioned whether the council was taking this subject seriously enough, especially given that the Director of Commercialisation is the only person employed to ensure this happens.
  • A Member suggested that some of the cultural changes that were being described might be difficult for some public sector workers to embrace, especially some staff that had worked at the Council for many years.  It was suggested that the council could do something more radical and go to Bristol Business School and ask the young people to help suggest some business orientated ideas and then set them some challenges about how the council could generate income.
  • It was stated by an officer that it wasn’t solely about income generation but also about ‘fitting services to fit the fee’s’ in some cases.
  • Cllr Pearce who’s a Member of the Scrutiny Commission and who also Chair’s the Commercialisation & Innovation Working Group said that the Council “certainly wasn’t short of ideas; there are plenty of them”.  He said the biggest obstacle to delivering anything substantial was the lack of capacity.  
  • The Director of Commercialisation said that it would be possible for the Commission to receive an Up-date Report from the group at their next meeting. Although it was stated that they would need to be careful not to give any ideas away publically. ACTION: an up-date report to be brought to next meeting
  • It was agreed that Cllrs Pearce and Alexander would lead on this subject on behalf of the Commission and would provide verbal up-dates as and when required.

 

Supporting documents: