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Entrepreneurship alive and flourishing in local authorities across the UK

APSE's latest research reveals that innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well in local authorities the length and breadth of the UK.

APSE's new report, Municipal Entrepreneurship, challenges the myth that local government is monolithic, bureaucratic and incapable of change. It demonstrates that commercial skills and business acumen are flourishing in local government and that elected members and entrepreneurial managers are fostering a commercial culture among council staff.

The research report has been produced by APSE in partnership with De Montfort University as part of a knowledge transfer programme. It highlights lessons, challenges and opportunities for local authorities taking an entrepreneurial approach to delivering services.

My view is that local authorities have been unfairly characterised as lacking the spirit of innovation by those with alternative agendas. This report challenges such preconceptions by providing clear evidence that municipal entrepreneurship is alive and well in councils across the UK. This is increasingly important in delivering high quality public services as budget cuts bite. Hopefully the examples from local authorities, highlighted in our study, will inspire others to take managed risks that will benefit their local communities and economies.

Case studies in the publication show what is being achieved by municipal entrepreneurs, including:

  • In West Lindsey, transformation of the local authority into an ‘Entrepreneurial Council’ has sustained frontline services, delivering efficiency savings of £2.13m.
  • In Tayside, sharing services across boundaries through a local authority contracting organisation has led to £14.5m surpluses being returned to the three Tayside local authorities.
  • In Wrexham, the council has implemented a renewable energy scheme, which will reduce CO2 emissions by three thousand tonnes pa and generate up to £1m pa for 25 years.
  • In Shropshire, Shire Services delivers catering and cleaning across the county and beyond, generating an annual turnover of £10.2m across Shropshire and £3m in external contracts.
  • In Hertsmere, Elstree Studios generates £1.1m pa rental income for the council, which is reinvested in local services.
  • In Hull, Kingstown Works Limited delivers building maintenance and repairs services across Hull and East Riding and has returned over £3m in surpluses to Hull City Council.
  • In Swansea, redesign of the council parks and open spaces service has saved £155k pa.

Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.






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