Is now the time for local authority trading companies?

The landscape for local government service delivery has changed forever as austerity and the need to do more with less have triggered councils to be more commercially minded.

With local authorities increasingly seeking proactive measures to achieve financial sustainability, local authority trading companies (LATCs) have become more and more popular as councils explore new collaborative ways of working. But while trading companies provide an opportunity to respond more flexibly to funding challenges, service quality issues and revenue generation, it is important to understand what makes them work well. Especially as some have failed to live up to their promise and, in some cases, been dissolved.

To operate effectively, local authorities and LATCs must undertake a number of key steps, including: having a clear strategy; adopting the right culture and establishing good governance; investing in technology; and being realistic regarding returns on investment. No LATC is a quick fix – transferring a service into a company will not automatically create efficiencies and time is needed to shift the culture of the trading company to one in which commercial behaviours become second nature.

Vivien Holland discusses what makes LATCs work with Martin Farrow, Chief Executive of Optalis Limited and Geoff Tucker, Sales & Marketing Director of Norse Group.

In Conversation with Martin Farrow - Chief Executive, Optalis

In Conversation with Geoff Tucker - Sales & Marketing Director, Norse Group


The rise of local authority trading companies Find out more