The Shared Finance Service supports all areas of Council business, providing strong financial governance and stewardship as well as expert advice and strategic thinking. We are involved in a wide range of innovative and transformative projects in both Councils and help drive the development of strong commercial acumen across the Councils. We enable our stakeholders to play their part in delivering Sutton’s corporate plan, Ambitious for Sutton, and Kingston’s corporate plan, Making Kingston Better Together.
Some examples of our recent activities can be viewed below.
London Cancer Hub - The London Cancer Hub will be a global centre for cancer innovation bringing together research, treatment and facilities for patients together in one place. The site will also host a school and accommodation, cafes and restaurants, all with state of the art facilities and excellent transport connections. The shared finance service have been involved in this project since the start, working with our partners to develop an appropriate financial model for the scheme, assessing scheme viability and cost, and supporting implementation through financing and investment advice.
Cambridge Road Estate Regeneration - The Cambridge Road Estate regeneration scheme is Kingston’s largest regeneration scheme. A resident’s ballot will be held shortly to determine whether the Council should go ahead with full regeneration or instead refurbish the existing accommodation. If residents decide to go ahead with full regeneration, the scheme will aim to deliver approximately 2000 homes over the next 10-12 years, including affordable and social housing, community facilities and public spaces, and opportunities to enable local businesses to thrive. The Shared Finance Service provides support to programme managers not only to manage the project budget, but also to develop the commercial aspects of the scheme and to ensure the programme is financially viable and delivering for residents from the outset. This has included working with commercial advisors to develop complex financial models and explore a range of delivery options, commercial negotiation and competitive dialogue procurement to secure a development partner, and advice on commercial loan and financing arrangements for a Joint Venture that will ultimately deliver the scheme if residents vote ‘yes’ to regeneration in the ballot.
Opportunity Sutton - Opportunity Sutton is a programme that was launched in 2012 to deliver major economic regeneration to the region. The Shared Finance Service support the programme with expert advice and guidance on investment, financial modelling, viability assessments and options appraisal. We also support the company administration of Opportunity Sutton Ltd and a range of subsidiary companies that have been developed to deliver the aims of the programme. Projects to date have included the establishment of the groundbreaking Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) and Tramlink, which aims to make the case for extension of the tram line from Wimbledon to Sutton.
Commercial Property Investment - Both Kingston and Sutton Council’s have invested in commercial property acquisitions to diversify their income streams and improve their financial viability over the medium to long term. This helps to protect front line services and vulnerable residents from the impact of continuing austerity on Local Government finances. The Shared Finance Service play a key role in assessing what to invest in and when, and how to finance such investments whilst balancing risk against potential reward.
Google - Sutton and Kingston are leaders in their field for adoption of Google technology. Digital innovation programmes at both Councils (led by the Shared ICT service for Kingston and Sutton) have enabled us to gradually move away from using traditional IT products and software, to more flexible and collaborative digital solutions. The Shared Finance Service have embraced these changes, using Google Chromebooks to facilitate flexible working across multiple sites and locations and using Google software to make our processes and ways of working both more efficient and more effective. We regularly use video conferencing and hangouts to stay in touch and are leading the way in collaborative working, sharing budgets and financial information on shared documents that enable multi-user access.
Digital Finance - We are committed to bringing innovation into our service through the use of digital products, automation and robotics. We are currently building our first ‘bot’ (Flo) following a successful trial. Flo will enable us to automate previously manual processes in our Accounts Receivable team, saving officer time and freeing up capacity to do more interesting and value adding work. We are implementing a joint financial system across the two Councils and as part of this will be investing in new online analytical tools to support budget managers in their day to day decision making. We aim to be market leaders in our use of digital and be amongst the first in Local Government to use cognitive computing to help drive further improvement and deliver meaningful insight to our clients.