Council buys office to generate income
South Cambridgeshire DC has made a £13m investment in a high-quality office building to generate an initial net return of around 5.6%.
Bristol energy company labelled a 'waste of money'
Bristol City Council has sparked controversy by pressing ahead with further investment in its energy company.
Should councils buy property miles away?
Tiffany Cloynes questions what legislation to impose a geographical limit on where councils can buy property would achieve – as a local authority already needs to ‘act reasonably in exercising its powers’
Leading the way on financial self-sufficiency
Sevenoaks DC’s approach to property investment ‘has not happened by accident,’ says its chief executive Dr Pav Ramewal. The council has a defined strategy, is clear about the investment criteria and understands its appetite for risk, he argues.
Call for regulator to manage increasing commercial activity
A code to guarantee the soundness of the sector’s plans as commercial activity gathers momentum has now become necessary, a new report has suggested.
Ministry uses 'gossip' to scrutinise commercial investments
Marsham Street has been accused of relying on ‘gossip’ to track councils’ commercial ventures.
Harrogate to launch housing company
Harrogate BC’s housing company will be up and running next month.
A delicate balance
Commercialisation in the public sector is one of the hottest issues of the moment. Members of Public Sector Plc’s Local Government Council Consortium Group met in London recently for The MJ's round table debate.
Private funds revive flagship Wolverhampton development
New funders will be brought in to save Wolverhampton City Council’s ambitious £50m Westside development.
NAO to probe council commercialisation
Local authority commercialisation will further come under the spotlight, with the National Audit Office (NAO) preparing to launch an inquiry.
Spelthorne calls end to commercial investments
Spelthorne BC has announced an end to its controversial policy of commercial property investments.
Mind the gap
The MJ/LGiU survey exposes the growing gap between the public’s expectations and councils’ ability to deliver – with nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) providing only ‘a little bit more’ than their statutory obligations.
Councils are often best placed to invest in commercial assets
James Cogavin says that while some councils are grabbing the headlines for the size of their investments, councils all across the country are making sensible commitments in their local areas which will benefit their communities.
Auditor warning over Spelthorne spending
Auditor KPMG has warned of a ‘significant risk’ in the way Spelthorne BC controversially bought a BP business park for £385m.
Risk and commercialisation: Why scrutiny matters
Early engagement and streamlining of scrutiny into commercialisation decisions will provide scrutiny councillors with the knowledge and understanding to bring added value to the commercialisation journey, say Paul O'Brien and Ed Hammond
Keeping up standards
As councils become increasingly commercial, auditors are asking how high standards of governance and accountability can be maintained in a more risky financial climate. Michael Burton reports on a National Audit Office/The MJ round table debate
EXCLUSIVE: LGA hit by unexpected £1m insurance bill
Smith Square faces an unexpected bill of up to £1m to cover the start-up costs of the insurance venture it has formed with 14 councils.
Government concern over investments focused on two or three councils
Marsham Street is ‘worried’ about ‘two or three’ councils’ commercial ventures, civil servants have said.
Tees Valley mayor's airport investment would total £75m
Tees Valley Combined Authority is being asked to commit £75m to the purchase of an airport, the business case has revealed.
Shopping around: councils can find fortune by diversifying into retail
Value still exists in the retail sector, but councils need to understand where to look in order to secure a strong return. By being savvy, they can mitigate the risk and maximise the opportunity, according to James Duncan