Unveiling a new era of strategic council partnerships

25 Jan 24

At a time when efficiency and innovation are paramount, strategic partnerships in the public sector stand out as a visionary approach that could revolutionise asset and estates management, writes Norse Group’s Richard Gawthorpe.

Richard Gawthorpe

Such collaborations, exemplified by the partnership between local authorities and experienced partners like Norse Group, mark a new era in public asset and estate management.

This transformative model aims to reinvent how councils manage assets, focusing not just on resource optimisation but on a broader role in the community, emphasising sustainable and people-focused development.

Acknowledging challenges such as limited expertise and the complexity of balancing strategic and operational management, these partnerships offer a bold solution. A client-side commissioning model is central to this strategy, enhancing control, enabling informed decision-making that reflects community needs, and promoting cost efficiency by reducing dependency on external consultants.

This approach also allows for the customisation of services to meet local requirements, facilitating strategic long-term planning and leveraging local expertise.

Beyond economic benefits, partnerships can focus on broader impacts such as community engagement, economic growth, and environmental responsibility, embodying a holistic approach that balances financial success with community wellbeing.

The detailed mobilisation plans, including legal, financial, HR, and IT integration, underscore the thorough planning essential for the success of such ventures.

Norse Group’s experience with Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) partnerships, which consistently return money to the public purse, exemplifies the potential of such collaborations.

The flexibility and direct control retained by council partners offer a compelling alternative to traditional outsourcing.

In my view, partnership working represents a redefinition of public sector asset and estate management, merging public service values with commercial knowhow and innovation.

This model not only benefits our partner councils but also sets a precedent for future collaborations, potentially reshaping public asset management across the UK.

  • Richard Gawthorpe

    Group director at Norse Group and Chartered Surveyor. Norse, the UK’s leading LATCo, has established 22 partnerships with local authorities, offering a range of services in the Built Environment. We specialise in environmental, highways, FM, property, multidisciplinary design, and care home services. With a turnover of £350m and 8,300 employees, our model is known for its cost-effectiveness and flexibility, often preferred over traditional private outsourcing. 

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