MOVES to turn Blaenau Gwent council into a more business minded organisation has been welcomed by senior councillors.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Monday, April 29 senior councillors received a report on the authority’s “revised commercial strategy” which will run until 2027.

The first version ran from 2020 and set out a “commitment” to become a more commercial and business minded organisation.

By using the new strategy the council’s intention is :”To deliver wider and better social outcomes for Blaenau Gwent through optimising our financial sustainability by managing and reducing costs, maximising use of our assets, generating more income and improving customer journeys.”

Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, Cllr John C Morgan said: “I totally welcome this report.

“To me it’s a statement that we are an ambitious and forward thinking council.

“It aligns with our corporate plan, and I believe that developing the commercial strategy goes hand in hand with taking a business-like approach something that we are doing – working with our partners both in public and private sectors.

“It’s an approach we need to have all our departments working together to get the job done.”

He added that the way the council had worked with Coleg Gwent and industry partners to delive the £12 million HiVE (High Value Engineering) facility in Ebbw Vale was an “example” of this work in practice.

Cabinet member for social services Haydn Trollope asked if the strategy would be a “living document” and whether changes would be made to suit the prevailing economic climate.

Customer and commercial chief officer Bernadette Elias said: “This needs to be a live strategy.

“As we move forward, and opportunities present themselves and financial challenges remain we’ll need to ensure that we are responsive as an organisation.

“There is a cultural shift to this, we suggest a midpoint review, but there will be an annual progress report against key deliverables as well.”

Cabinet will also receive quarterly updates on how the strategy is working.

Council leader Cllr Steve Thomas said: “This is the way forward, it’s innovative and is a strategy we clearly need.”

Cabinet unanimously approved the report.

According to the report the strategy is underpinned by two key principles and three priorities, which are said to be “essential to improving and delivering our commercial ambitions.”

Principle One is to:  “Develop a culture that supports the organisation to become more commercially minded.

The aim of this is to “develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours across the organisation so that better commercial planning becomes business as usual.

Principle Two is to: “develop the organisational governance and procedures that will support improved commercial planning.

The aim of this is to: “set the right conditions to enable directorates to be responsive to opportunities and bring forward commercial proposals for consideration.

The number one priority is to “change the way” in which councillors and staff “perceive and drive forward” commercial opportunities.