London Councils’ Pledges to Business was formally endorsed at the London Councils Leaders’ Committee in December 2019. The Pledges cover relevant borough services that affect businesses, including their regulatory services and placemaking activities. It also has a series of asks of local businesses, enhancing their roles as employers and reducing their environmental impact.
The Pledges to Business will only be successful if it brings about change and improvement in the relationship between boroughs and business. This will require senior political and officer commitment in each borough. London Councils has been developing the Pledges to Business during 2019. There has been consultation with borough officers and members, as well as the London Business Board, which brings together key business representative bodies.
The Pledges have been developed with a focus on boroughs’ offer to business, rather than boroughs’ ask of business. It looks beyond councils’ business support services to consider the wider role of boroughs as:
- Placemakers and champions: setting a framework for the future development of an area
and coordinating investment to deliver this vision.
- Convenors of business and local communities: brokering local solutions and
- Regulators: protecting residents and demanding high standards, but also delivering a
quality and joined-up regulation process for businesses using these services.
- Providers of core infrastructure: providing or helping to facilitate infrastructure.
Pledges to Business
The Pledges are centred on:
- Engagement: ensuring effective engagement with business, including customer satisfaction surveys and consultation with those using borough services.
- Making business simpler: ensuring that businesses can get a more coordinated approach from boroughs, including enhancing digital access to borough services.
- Cleaner, greener, safer: collaborating with businesses in areas, such as community safety; waste reduction and recycling; air quality; and rough sleeping. This includes working with London’s more than 60 Business Improvement Districts.
- Night-time economy: playing a coordinating role in supporting a safe and successful night-time economy.
- Business rates: continuing to lobby for a system that lessens the impact on London’s economy.
- Procurement: supporting local suppliers and social value outcomes.
- Developing a skilled workforce: working with employers to ensure a local labour force with the right skills.
The Pledges also have a series of asks of business:
- Becoming the best employer you can be, through the adoption of relevant standards.
- Ensuring an inclusive workforce that reflects London’s diversity, including engaging with local employment and apprenticeship programmes.
- Engaging the next generation by working with schools across London to open up the world of work.
- Supporting sustainability by showing leadership in reducing emissions and waste.
- Becoming “business champions” by supporting the public sector in making the case for your borough and London.
The Pledges will require effective processes to ensure businesses find it easier to navigate boroughs’ different services. This will require a commitment from boroughs to engage with businesses, seeking feedback on how they feel the process currently works for them and how it can be improved. There are wider policy issues boroughs will need to consider, for example, balancing the requirements of their regulatory role with a desire to promote vibrant high streets.
There are excellent examples of London boroughs working successfully with local businesses and Business Improvement Districts on diverse range issues, from aggressive begging to child protection and improving air quality. London Councils will work to highlight the best examples and run events to develop this network and share good practice.
London Councils will also continue to work with business groups in making the case for London, on issues such as the apprenticeship levy, business rates reform and the replacement for European funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
For further information contact Stephen King, Head of Business & Enterprise at London Councils – Stephen.King@londoncouncils.gov.uk