What if Council’s became Commercial Entities?
Over the past few years, Local authorities have been hit hard with austerity and now Covid and will have to become more innovative in their thinking and approach. One way they can do this is to form partnerships with the private sector, creating their own commercial companies to build revenue and achieve sustainability. See full Localis report https://www.localis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Localis-Commercial-Councils-FINAL.pdf
In England some Authorities have already registered as private companies in the housing sector due to a lack of the government housing grant for example, Red Door Ventures (Newham Council). It’s important that the boards of these companies not only have councillors sitting on them but also have experienced people from the industry, such as estate and housing developers, architects etc (ref: Igloo Regeneration’s Chris Brown).
It would be important to ensure that the profits created are ringfenced and used to fund future regeneration and not used to prop up other council non housing departments. They may also be at risk of losing the electorate if they do not fulfil their promised affordable housing quota. The Architects Journal https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk
Municipal entrepreneurship maybe the way forward for councils to make a contribution to the housing market providing affordable housing both to buy and rent. Future joint ventures between authorities and the private sector can stretch way beyond the housing industry to create better, more sustainable town centres. Places where people can live, work and play, such as the proposed Green Square in Sydney Australia. There needs to be real collaboration, forward thinking vision and a common-sense approach between the Public and Private sectors for such places to exist and the rigid approaches of old, will no longer work. In the words of Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.