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Building for Lewisham &
Commercial Accountant

£54,597 - £56,754 per annum

Reports to: Head of Financial Strategy Planning and Commercial

Directorate: Corporate Resources

Section: Finance

DBS required: Basic

Main purpose of the job

  • Act as the principal finance representative on the Building for Lewisham (BfL) Programme, major housing or regeneration schemes or other commercial activities of the Council; providing or procuring all relevant financial support and advice to the programme.

  • Providing strategic financial advice to other major regeneration or commercial schemes and ensuring that the Council’s financial interests are appropriately protected.

  • Advising Members and the Council’s S151 Officer on the financial implications of any commercial schemes or developments; ensuring that financial comments are provided on any reports seeking authority to commit or expose the Council to financial or commercial risks through the development of regeneration or commercial ventures.

  • Keep abreast of the core government regulations applicable to local government finance and commercial activities and ensure that Members and senior officers are briefed fully on the implications of existing legislation and any proposed changes.

Management roles & expectations

As a Lewisham Service Manager you will:

  • Be responsible for professional advice and support in service area to deliver in partnership with others the councils vision, values and ways of working.

  • Take overall responsibility for the planning and management of services, ensuring community and customer needs are identified and met.

  • Ensure the delivery of identified service objectives and continuous improvement of service targets.

  • Achieve results through the effective management and development of people.

  • Ensure the effective deployment of financial resources and compliance with statutory professional and organisational frameworks.

 

Summary of Responsibilities and Personal Duties:

  • Be Accountable for the provision of financial advice, financial options appraisal and associated modelling in relation to all proposed commercial schemes or activities. Provide balanced advice on the financial risks and opportunities, the range of financing options and the on-going impact on the Council’s finances from those schemes.

  • Be responsible for the provision, to Members and Senior Officers of the Council, of accounting, technical, procurement and commercial advice on the Council’s financial responsibilities particularly in relation to development or regeneration schemes or commercial ventures especially on aspects of inward investment and financing, financial business case development and options appraisal.

  • Be accountable for ensuring that ED’s, Heads of Service and other senior officers across the Council understand that commercial targets set by the Council are driven forward by all management teams.

  • Ensure that all proposals for change involving commercial activities are supported by a comprehensive and compelling business case, are compatible with Members priorities and are deliverable.

  • Be responsible for undertaking the annual review of all Council fees and charges levied and ensure that they continue to reflect a fully commercial approach, achieve full cost recovery and are only levied in relation to powers held by the Council. Seek formal approval from the relevant committee including, the licensing committee, for changes to all statutory and discretionary charges.

  • Be responsible for the development and vision across the Council of commercial acumen to assist in delivering the commercial strategy and driving change, providing training guidance and challenge as appropriate.

  • Be responsible for seeking out and disseminating best practice in the sector towards income generation from investment and commercial opportunities.

  • Provide, evaluate and recommend for decision a range of delivery options to establish whether the Council is best placed to undertake proposed commercial ventures or whether others are better placed to manage risk and opportunity on the Council’s behalf.

  • Be responsible for the identification, development and evaluation of alternative commercial models of financing including financial instruments such as Bonds, models of delivery such as through Special Purpose Vehicles including in partnership with others.

  • Work with Members and senior officers, advise and be responsible for the identification of commercial risks and for developing mitigation strategies to miminise exposure to risks to the Council through its commercial activities.

  • Ensure that appropriate financial provision is made to protect the Council and its Council tax payers from excessive risk and impact on Council tax levels; evaluating the level of reserves available, the need for insurance or for internal provisions to be made. Liaise with other senior finance staff to feed those features into the medium term financial planning considerations.

  • Be accountable for delivering value for money through more commercial approaches. Take responsibility for the delivery of commercial targets, in conjunction with others.

  • Lead on the identification and development of more Commercial approaches to maximise the benefit from Council assets and investments with the objective of generating income streams in support of the Council’s core activities. 

  • Ensure that the Building for Lewisham (BfL) Programme and other major regeneration schemes are fully reflected in the Council’s capital programme and be accountable for ensuring that its financing components demonstrates that it is affordable, reflects into, and is consistent with revenue and capital budget provision, and matches the Council’s priorities and its capital strategy.

  • Advise on alternative strategies for schemes, utilising external funding including grants, borrowing or internal resources and seek innovative ways of minimising the Council’s exposure to risk

  • Ensure that the data from the BfL and other commercial activities are fully and accurately reflected in the Council’s Financial Asset registers for Property Plant and Equipment keeping this up to date with relevant information relating to component valuation, acquisition, disposal or adaptation.

  • Ensure for housing schemes that mixed tenure developments in line with national and local priorities are flexed to accommodate scheme viability and, where appropriate, cross subsidization of schemes to facilitate large regeneration schemes.

  • Provide professional financial advice in support of statutory consultation processes for regeneration schemes to allow consultees to provide informed responses and support effective decision making in the Borough.

  • Be responsible for obtaining evaluating and challenging valuation information in relation to the BfL and other allocated programmes or regeneration schemes.

  • Be accountable for ensuring that all written reports relating to the BfL Programme, major regeneration schemes and other commercial ventures consider the financial implications fully and include formal comments drafted in the name of the Chief Finance Officer.

  • Be responsible for identifying and reflecting in written advice the risks, opportunities and benefits from alternative schemes including for a range of financing approaches and mitigation strategies.

  • Lead on the identification and development of opportunities for commercial activities which generate additional income for the Council; ensure that proposals are developed in accordance with the Council’s governance arrangements, and are supported by robust financial options appraisals based on a full, whole life costing approach.

  • Lead on the identification and evaluation of commercial approaches adopted by others. Provide guidance and advice to Members and senior officers on their applicability to the Council.

  • Keep abreast of and provide early formal advice and guidance in relation to future policy or regulatory changes impacting the Council’s commercial activities or major regeneration or housing schemes.

  • Actively contribute to the appraisal of new commercial development opportunities, taking accountability to ensure that full lifecycle costing is considered and that the options for the associated capital financing arrangements are secure and affordable.

  • Provide professional advice in support of the CFO and the Director of Finance as the Council’s financial representatives in discussions with developers.

  • Take responsibility to ensure that any capital requirements flowing from commercial ventures or regeneration schemes feed into the management of the Council’s borrowing, including for the General Fund and the Housing Revenue Account. Liaise with the Capital and Chief Accountant to ensure compliance with capital controls and prudential indicators such as the Capital Financing Requirement (CFR)

  • Ensuring that the Council’s capital financial systems and capital accounting structures are followed for all commercial or regeneration schemes to support the production of statutory and other accounting information.

  • Produce and maintain financial accounting notes to support accounting treatments adopted in support of schemes to enable responses to audit enquiries; seeking additional assurance for high risk or ground breaking areas to protect the Council’s position.

  • To carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s relevant codes and procedures.

  • Carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s Dignity at Work Policy and core values.

  • All employees are required to comply with the Council's Health & Safety policies and procedures at all times, taking due care for themselves, colleagues and members of the public.

  • Assist in carrying out the Council's environmental policy within the day to day activities of the post.

  • Treat all information acquired through employment, both formally and informally, in strict confidence.

  • To carry out the duties of the post with due regard to the Council’s relevant codes and procedures.

  • All employees are required to participate in the Performance Evaluation Scheme (PES) and to undertake appropriate training and development identified to enhance their work.

  • Undertake other duties, commensurate with the grade, as may reasonably be required

Consideration will be given to restructuring the duties of this post for a disabled postholder

 

Internal Contacts: These include Executive Directors, finance business partners, procurement teams, legal teams, capital delivery teams, Treasury and Investment Manager, programme and project managers, regeneration team, S106 and CIL planning teams.

 

External Contacts: This will include external auditors, government departments e.g. MHCLG, external legal and financial advisors, BfL Programme Managers in Lewisham Homes and other senior LH executives

Person specification

Equality & Diversity

  • Awareness of and a commitment to Equality of Access and Opportunity in a diverse community

  • Understanding of how equality and diversity relates to this post

  • Ability to demonstrate commitment to the principles of equality in employment and service delivery.

Knowledge

  • Evidence of a strong intellectual grasp of local government policy, finance especially in relation to capital, regeneration, housing and commercial projects

  • Expert knowledge of Local Government Capital Accounting regulations and codes of practice

  • Understanding of governance structures and approaches in a commercial context  

  • Demonstrates an understanding of current challenges and opportunities in local  government

  • CCAB Qualified Accountant (or willing to undertake training to achieve qualification within reasonable timeframe) with substantial experience of working in a dynamic environment within a large public or private sector organisation.

Aptitude

  • Numerical reasoning

  • Oral presentation

  • Able to prioritise, and provide clear guidance including the establishment and maintenance of a performance management culture

Skills

  • Able to write professional papers including reports and briefings  

  • Ability to develop and deliver presentation materials clearly and concisely to a range of audiences  

  • Assertive and strong communication skills with excellent listening skills together with persuasive analytical skills

  • Ability to act and think strategically, translating this into deliverables

  • Ability to reconcile corporate and strategic objectives

 

Experience

  • Significant experience in range of finance roles including capital or regeneration roles         

  • Experience of managing a team of finance professionals  

  • Evidence of having developed and delivered effective performance measures and performance improvement programme in the delivery of services

General Education

  • Educated to Degree level standard

Personal Qualities

  • Must be able to adapt to competing demands

  • Must be financially fluent, cost and contribution conscious with a focus on value for money

  • Energetic, determined, robust and resilient enough to cope with the demands of the role.

  • Able to establish positive working relationships with partners and colleagues across different disciplines.

  • Able to understand and anticipate issues of political sensitivity.

  • High standards of integrity

  • Commitment to learn – desire to acquire new knowledge, skills and approaches.

Physical

  • Generally candidates must meet the standard Lewisham requirements for the post