Yesterday I had the good fortune to speak at the Local Government Association’s (LGA) fantastic conference facility at 18 Smith Square. It was part of a wider programme we’re doing with the LGA to help council officers and members understand the market, the challenges and pick up some commercial skills to support their work.

It was particularly enlightening for a number of reasons. Whereas I spoke on the topic of high streets and town centres, looking at what’s gone wrong, where the opportunities lie, and what councils can do to lead that change, the theme of the day was ‘profit with purpose’, an increasingly pertinent topic in today’s society. Aside from being bombastically chaired by Cllr Peter Fleming, we heard from Chris Bradley at East Hampshire about their commercialisation strategy, Richard Harrison from CIPFA about how councils can create a profit with purpose, and Professor Sir Paul Collier from Oxford University. He talked about the ‘business of social change’ and the idea that success of any town and city can and should be driven by public sector leadership. It’s about jobs, education, the social fabric and, crucially, vision. We talk to councils all the time about their places, how they can set the vision, how they know their places better than anyone else, and how collaboration with the private sector and strong leadership can meaningfully change local economies and communities for the better. Truly thought-provoking stuff that Montagu Evans are at the forefront of.

If you’re a local authority that wants to do more with your place, or you’re a forward thinking, collaborative developer wishing to understand more about the opportunities to earn profit with purpose, to truly shape a place and leave a lasting legacy, come and talk to us.