Establishing a Community Wealth Fund in Camden

The Assignment

Huge disparities of wealth co-exist in the London Borough of Camden and it is one of the Council’s priorities to tackle the problem of inequality.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality and strengthened the communities’ resolve to tackle it.  By maximising the value of local assets for local people and leveraging the resources of partners, the Council saw an opportunity to bring benefit to local people and keep some of the economic value created in the borough within the borough.

Camden Council had already been exploring options for a Community Wealth Fund and sought external support in preparing a detailed options appraisal as part of a Business Case for the funding, design and structure of the Community Wealth Fund.   We supported the Council through a series of workshops to define and design the Fund as an umbrella structure with three different interventions via a sub-fund arrangement and then prepared an HMT five case Business Case to set out a clear robust rationale for establishing the fund.

Following successful completion of the Business Case our commission was extended to prepare an Operational Plan to guide the activities required to establish and launch the fund.

The Role

Stage 1 – Business Case development which included a detailed discovery phase in order to develop specific objectives, define the fund structure, the priorities for funding, how it would be funded, managed and operated.   This discovery phase culminated in an options appraisal and business case assessment in order to determine a preferred way forward and support decision making via the Council’s cabinet.

Stage 2 – Detailed design for the Fund, including Investment Strategy, Governance, Delivery Plan and Procurement Strategy. Market engagement with potential co-investors to refine the design of the fund.

Key Outcomes

The Community Wealth Fund is to be considered by Cabinet in June 2022 and if approved will be established and launched using the Operational Plan as a clear guide.

Stage 1 outcomes:

  • Business Case on a Page
  • A ‘Five Case’ Business Case – based on a proportional approach to the HMT Green Book Guidance
  • Options Appraisal as part of the Economic Case
  • Fund Design and Structure
  • Financial Model with associated sensitivity analysis to demonstrate affordability

Stage 2 outcomes:

  • Drafting of the Investment Strategy with associated eligibility criteria, investment criteria and priorities
  • Preparing an Operational Plan
  • Market engagement with potential co-investors to test their appetite and seek feedback on the proposals in order to refine the detailed design of the fund
  • Stakeholder engagement with key representatives from Camden Renewal Commission/ the local community
  • Preparing a Procurement Strategy
  • Marketing, Communication & Engagement Plan
  • Preparing a Delivery Plan together with Detailed Programme for implementation