Governance & Transformation and Commercial Enterprise Cabinet Members – Minutes – 15 November 2016

In October 2015 the former Cabinet Member for Policy and Resources approved a Commercial Strategy 2015-19.  The strategy detailed the council’s vision, aspirations and ambition for future income generation.

Following a soft market testing exercise in February 2016, the former Cabinet Member for Policy and Finance approved the procurement of a managed services contract under the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework to increase income through advertising and sponsorship.

Lot 5 of the ESPO framework ‘Management of Advertising Space for Commercial Sponsorship’ was now live and councils were able to either directly award contracts or run further mini competitions to appoint a suitable supplier.

Under the framework sponsorship arrangements were managed by a service provider who would source and manage suitable sponsors in line with the council’s approved policy.  In return the sponsor would then pay a sponsorship fee either by fixed fee or by percentage of revenue return to the service provider.

The service providers awarded under the lot would be responsible for actively marketing the contract, securing sponsorship and establishing arrangements such as landscaping, maintenance, signage and managing the administration of the arrangements including invoicing the sponsors.

There were two approved suppliers on the framework.  Following analysis of the framework specification it was clear that only one of the two suppliers could fulfil the council’s requirements.

Alongside the ESPO enquiry an exercise was undertaken to review opportunities for generating additional income from carrying paid for advertising on the main council website.  This exercise identified the Council Advertising Network (CAN).  CAN was launched on 1 May 2014 to source socially responsible advertising as the exclusive partner of Local Authorities.  Over 50 Local Authorities had become members of the CAN network.

In order to maximise potential advertising revenue from the council’s assets it was proposed that the following steps be taken:

a)           Subscribe to the Council Advertising Network (CAN) for a trial period to pilot the generation of income by carrying paid for advertisements on the council’s main website.

b)           Directly award a contract to Community Partners via the ESPO framework to provide a managed solution for advertising via the following assets (excluding website advertising) subject to confirming suitable market potential:

  • Roundabouts
  • Boundaries
  • Bridges
  • Car parks
  • Billboards and signage
  • Digital signs
  • Bus shelters
  • Roadside verges, central reservations and traffic islands
  • Barriers, waste bins and street furniture
  • Hanging baskets and flower beds
  • Streetlight banner advertisements
  • Vehicles
  • Buildings
  • Printed publications

Feedback acquired through supplier dialogue indicated that the most viable assets were roundabouts, boundary signs, lighting columns and it was therefore proposed that these be pursued first.

An updated Advertising and Sponsorship Policy was attached to the report as an appendix.  The Policy would support the implementation of the proposals outlined previously.  Minor changes to procedures set out in the policy had been made following organisational changes.  Whilst the scope of the current policy explicitly included web advertising, this had not been actively pursued to-date recognising a historical scrutiny recommendation that paid for advertising should not be carried on the council website.

Resolved – (a) That the updated advertising and sponsorship policy, including the active pursuit of web advertising as set out in Appendix 1, be approved, and (b) that the proposed implementation process, as set out in paragraph 2.10 of the report, be agreed.