UK and Ireland law firm Browne Jacobson has helped launch The Council Company Best Practice and Innovation Network with Wiltshire Council and Christ Church Business School. The network is a platform that allows academic experts and senior local authority leaders share best practice in relation to council companies.
The initiative was launched at an event which took place last week (22 November) at Browne Jacobson’s London office focused on the benefits that come from combining academic knowledge with practical experience and highlighted the importance of reducing risk and maximising the additional new capital and revenue streams that could be delivered to local government as a result.
The discussion included contributions from Director of Legal & Governance and Monitoring Officer at Wiltshire Council, Perry Holmes and Browne Jacobson partner Peter Ware who heads up the firm’s government sector who have both helped steer the set up of the network and Legal Director & Head of Local Government at Sharpe Pritchard, Rob Hann.
Perry Holmes said: “I have seen at first-hand how council companies can leverage value in their locality. That can be through efficient, well-run services or strategically held land or buildings to deliver profitable activity to benefit the community and local tax payers, but also social value, regeneration and market stimulation. There is a science to this success and through the Best Practice Network we want to ensure that science is widely understood and informs the governance and performance of council companies nationally.
“The Best Practice Network is designed to bring together cutting-edge academic expertise about council companies and innovation linked to on-the-ground practical experience from network members to create a shared resource of good and best practice governance, audit and scrutiny. We also want to encourage novelty and commercial success for the hundreds of companies operating nationally and the community benefits that it delivers.”
Peter Ware commented: “It has been fantastic to have partnered with Wiltshire Council and Christ Church Business School on this very thought provoking and engaging event to establish this innovative network.
“The network will provide local authority senior leaders with a supportive environment where they can access and utilise cutting edge academic expertise and openly discuss successful entrepreneurship, innovation and commercial activity in the public sector. It also presents its members with an opportunity to strengthen connections with other local authorities and work together to share experience, ideas and challenges that will influence the future governance and performance of council companies.”
Dr Ping Zheng, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Canterbury Christchurch Business School said: “I am delighted to bring my expertise and the resources of Christ Church Business School to this exciting new venture. I look forward to showcasing how cutting-edge research on entrepreneurship and innovation can help Council Companies solving problems and improving their competitive edge. The partnership with Wiltshire Council and others is significant and meaningful to orchestrating regional networks and promoting collective actions and projects among Network stakeholders & local communities.”