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Dec 18 2013

Spotted: Harrow’s Environment & Enterprise Group to become “more commercial”

harrow_council_logoSpotted tucked away in the last few pages of the Council’s Members Information Circular for December 2013 (page 8 onwards) was a piece around the Council’s Environment & Enterprise Directorate. As always with this Council, the devil is in the detail.

Did you know, for example, that E&E generated an income of £17,200,000 in 2012-13, almost half the £38.5 million that the council pocketed that year? Over £17 million isn’t bad (or is it…), but how do they do it?

Luckily, there’s a small table, which shows exactly where it came from:

  • £10.2m in Parking Services, including Penalty Charge Notices
  • £0.99m in Licensing, cemeteries and pest control
  • £1.65m in Waste and recycling, including commercial waste and recycling income.
  • £1.94m in planning and building control.

The notes continue:

As part of changes to our service model introduced by the Towards Excellence programme, we will be looking at new and innovative ways of generating income. This will include making use of assets, and carrying out trading activities to ensure that we make the most of every opportunity whilst continuing to deliver a good service to residents and businesses of Harrow.

The new structure has created a team who will support services in adopting a more commercial approach and making the most of any trading opportunity that we can identify. This will mitigate against the other budget reductions we are facing in 2015/16 and beyond.

“Carrying out trading activities” and “…adopting a more commercial approach…” all sounds rather vague yet quite worrying at the same time. What’s it likely to mean – more traffic cameras? More aggressive parking controls? It is certainly telling that over a quarter of the Council’s income came from ‘parking services’ that year.

 

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