Agenda item

Commercialisation Work Stream

Following the Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committee on when a number of work streams were discussed as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan.


David Greensmith, the Commercial Manager, Net Zero & Business will attend and make a short presentation on current commercial projects and outline future plans as part of the commercialisation work stream within the One Exeter Programme. Councillors are invited to consider how they can be involved in identifying and developing the Council’s commercial prospects.




Following a reference to the University of Exeter, Councillor Allcock declared an interest that a family member worked for the University.


At the meeting of the recent Combined Strategic and Customer Focus Scrutiny Committees, a number of work streams were discussed as part of identifying any savings in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). Councillors were asked to consider how they could be involved in developing and identifying the Council’s commercial prospects. David Greensmith, the Commercial Manager was invited to attend the meeting and he provided an overview of the Council’s commercial projects, including the particular project focus of the Waste Management and Public and Green Spaces services, and outlined the team’s future plans as part of the commercialisation work stream within the One Exeter Programme. (A copy of the presentation was attached to the minutes).


The Commercial Manager referred to the importance of working collaboratively to deliver an improved Waste Management service, to reduce costs as well as working towards a reduction in carbon. The City Council had the advantage of being able to dispose of commercial waste at the Waste to Energy plant on Marsh Barton, which made an important contribution to the Council’s Net Zero ambitions. Other project areas included a waste contract working with the University of Exeter, exploring ways to reduce the transport movements associated with the collection and disposal of residential and commercial clinical waste. Work had taken place around cemeteries and a further pilot involved the Parks and Green Spaces service and roll out of a gardening service for residents and commercial partners in the city.  They were particularly proud of the waste management compliance project, which offered education and advice for hirers using any of the Council’s land or services. A number of options to improve the Home Call Service had also been considered with the Council’s Legal Services which could offer benefits to other Local Authorities and Housing Associations.


The Commercial team were currently working on 33 projects across all service areas, working towards the One Exeter Programme to support the Council’s MTFP.  The Commercial Manager calculated that from changes identified to the services provided, there was a projected minimum income of £1.3million until 2026. Further details would be presented to Members on individual projects as they progressed.


The Commercial Manager responded to Members’ suggestions and comments -


·         the team’s work and any expansion of existing services in the city was driven by the Commercial Strategy, and the incrementalism approach of keeping as local as possible. A project scoring matrix and SWOT analysis were used to ensure that any opportunity explored would offer a viable return, was a good fit for the city and met the Strategy’s criteria.  A copy of the Commercial Strategy was available on the Council’s web site.

·         a greater awareness of the environment and events such as COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference which took place in Glasgow last month was starting to change the emphasis of national contracts impeding local decisions.  There was local negotiation which was enabling national companies to help them with their Net Zero journey. The Portfolio Holder Net Zero Exeter 2030 had also been working with the Commercial team and this discussion was taking place with local businesses.

·         he welcomed the Member’s question about the areas that might be pursued to reduce the Council’s deficit. There were three contracts that involved detailed discussions that would make a significant impact to the MTFP. A number of Service Leads and their teams were working on this and he was confident that they will meet the target savings over the three years.


A Member made the following suggestions for further consideration - 


  • to identify any opportunity for renting out river or canal moorings for leisure use and holiday makers.
  • hire out the Council’s electric or commercial vehicles when the vehicles were not in use.
  • use some of our parks and open spaces for adventure activities.


The Commercial Manager thanked the Member for these suggestions and referred to his brief to look at areas where he could deliver the best return on investment, which would be subject to Council approval.  He made the following brief responses, and referred to a detailed analysis of the River and Canal use which had shown that the viability of such opportunities was low, against a significant investment. There were similar viability issues with adventure activities in our parks, but there may be other space that could be used, and whilst using the Council’s electric vehicles (EV) was a valid suggestion, when they are not being used, they were being charged.


He also responded to the Member’s comment on EV charging points in the city’s car parks and of the many challenges from the lack of electrical infrastructure to support high demand from charging. There is an ongoing review of all EV charging across the city, including work with Devon County Council to maximise the opportunity in our car park spaces. A significant investment would be required.


Members noted the presentation and the Commercial Manager to explore the suggestions made and report back to Members.


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