Headlines: September 20th, 2010

Councils have been given examples of business opportunities that have been developed to generate revenue and urged to explore ways to use their expertise and resources to benefit council tax payers.

Many councils operate MOT test centres which are used to check council vehicles like buses for their safety and roadworthiness. These centres can also open their doors to the public and because council run garages only offer tests, not repairs, customers can feel assured that there is no hidden agenda for extra trade. Council test centres have a reputation for fewer test failures.

A large city council offers a tree inspection service as part of its arboriculture work. Many insurers insist on an annual inspection of trees within policyholder’s premises. This is to safeguard owners against trees being blown over or collapsing. The inspections have been carried out for council premises, private householders, private companies and health trusts. This service has been undertaken for the last year. The work is done by the council’s arboriculture team and equates to around 25 per cent of their workload or £30,000 of income.

Another example of a business opportunity comes from Coventry where a service is provided to residents who want to create driveways from the roadway through the verge to the edge of their property. The council provides both a quotation and construction service if residents need to drop the kerb from outside their property to make a driveway.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “With a little bit of innovation and creative thinking councils can use the skills and resources already at their disposal to charge and trade in a way that boosts town hall coffers.”