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Harbour Best Value Review, Whitstable, UK
Canterbury City Council (CCC) undertook a Best Value Review of Whitstable Harbour, and engaged Fisher Associates to undertake the Challenge and Compare aspects of the review. The overall goal was to identify strategies for physical and institutional development that provide the right balance between institutional effectiveness, management efficiency, financial sustainability, economic benefit, and accountability to stakeholders.
The review considered three options for physical development:
- “Do nothing”
- Complete redevelopment (e.g. property / housing / marina)
- Balanced redevelopment
The institutional review found that:
- Despite being an important statutory body in its own right, Whitstable Harbour lacked an institutional identity.
- There was a danger that CCC could control the port via a basket of regulatory controls and ownership rights, rather than holding these at arms length.
- Whitstable Harbour needed the benefit of decision-making which took an overall view of the port, and gave as much weight to operational issues / economics as to political aspirations.
- The Harbour should be managed by a “fit for purpose” Board, which balanced entrepreneurial skills and public service commitment, and life experience with professional experience.
- The port required ring fenced accounts to show its true financial position, and ensure that any subsidies, cross-subsidies and profits were transparent.
An initial appraisal confirmed that leasing, concessioning or sale of the harbour was not appropriate, and three main options for institutional change were assessed:
- Municipal Ports Best Practice
- Reconstitution as a Trust Port
We recommended that option one be adopted. In fact our recommendations defined best practice for municipal ports, and this then had a major impact on the UK Government’s Municipal Ports Review, which refers to “the Whitstable model”.
Business Needs, Communities, Developed Economies, England, Management, Maritime Education & Training, Public Sector, Regions, Sectors, Skills, UK, Value for Money Review