Mon Mar 2024

Income Optimisation – An Under-tapped Opportunity


Written by:
George Huke,
Lead Senior Delivery Consultant

In this Breakfast Briefing, Ken Lyon and Paul Clarke explore how local councils can optimise their income.

Income is a key component of any Council’s financial strategy and optimising it can provide a significant “chunk” of a Council’s savings and sustainability plan. However, it is often tempting for councils to rely on routine inflationary increases where the rationale for charging is then lost. An organisational policy and ownership is either non-existent or not “alive and impactful” in the organisation.

Ken Lyon and Paul Clarke have worked across a number of Councils, supporting them to review their income and pricing approaches, which has led to millions of pounds of year-on-year cashable savings.

In this Breakfast Briefing, they share their observations into building a more informed, strategic, and sustainable approach to council income and pricing, including:

  • Full Cost Understanding and Pricing: Discover the importance of fully grasping the costs involved and how to price services accordingly, including performing sensitivity analysis and considering the impact of legislation.
  • Linking to Policy Objectives: Ensure your approach to charging aligns with your Corporate Plan, making informed decisions about subsidies based on a solid evidence base.
  • Embedding Sustainable Strategies: Find out how to build a sustainable relationship between finance teams and service departments, emphasising ownership among budget managers and equipping them with the necessary tools for ongoing success.

Our Speakers

Ken Lyon is Managing Director of Lyon Local Gov (Lyon LG), a small consultancy that supports the public sector with a particular focus on financial sustainability. Ken established Lyon Local Gov after 17 years in the sector, the last decade of which was as a senior leader in complex Councils, ranging from large city unitary councils to rural districts, mainly leading commercial and change initiatives. Ken is local government to the core and has a passion for supporting Councils in delivering a sustainable future.

In the 21 months since Ken created Lyon LG they have worked with more than 40 Councils, and have developed a particular specialism around income optimisation, particularly reviews of Fees and Charges, where they have worked with 12 Councils, identifying and delivering millions of pounds of ongoing savings (average £2m pa for unitary and £400k pa district).

At the core of the work Ken does is a commitment to organisational ownership. Ken focusses on understanding the underlying reason for an organisation doing things in a certain way, while building a strong evidence base to support or challenge it.

Paul Clarke, a CIPFA accountant, is an Associate Director at Lyon Local Gov. He has spent his 20 year career in local authorities finding solutions to complex challenges, which include: the financing of Phase 2 of the Nottingham Tram Network; creation and acquisitions of housing development and service delivery companies; supporting people grant calculation and distribution, developing charging policy, review frameworks and strategy / business plans; overseeing a £20m+ annual budget.

Paul has spent the past 2 years working with numerous Councils, both on Fees and Charges reviews and developing Green Book compliant business cases, including unlocking over £100m of Central Government funding to Local Authorities. Paul also loves creating tools and support to equip services in managing their businesses and has led on the development of our Local Authority Charging Toolkit.

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