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City of London Review of Income Generation


The Context

The City of London Corporation is a ‘Sui Generis’ Authority, meaning it is one of a kind – there is no other Local Authority in the UK that operates in the same way. The Corporation operates in the ‘square mile’ within London and has a vast range of responsibilities that make it unique. Whilst it has the typical responsibilities of a local authority, such as social care and housing, these are significantly lower in demand compared to neighbouring authorities due to the small number of residents that actually live in the square mile – approximately 8,600 people. Therefore, a lot of the Corporation’s focus is on driving growth and social and sustainable benefits to the city, owning hugely valuable assets such as the Barbican and Guildhall School for Music and Drama. Although being unique in its operations, the City of London Corporation isn’t unique in the sense of having large financial pressures to address over the coming years and, as is the trend within local government currently, they have also increased focus on income generation as a way to address the financial challenges ahead.

The Requirement

The City of London has an impressive array of assets and income generating streams but have never had a single view of these activities or a complete understanding of their collective performance. The Corporation required external support to conduct a diagnostic review of their income generation activities, which included the following specific requirements: 


  • Consolidation of an Income Generation Portfolio – Create a comprehensive overview of the Corporation’s entire income generating activities 

  • Identification of gaps and best practices – Through the review, identify gaps and areas where improvements can be made, whilst also pinpointing pockets of best practice that can be scaled across the organisation

  • Recommendations for improvement – Develop recommendations for mid-long term income generation improvement 

  • Strategy and Execution Plan development – Develop an overarching strategy and execution plan for the identified income generation opportunities, outlining how these can be pursued and executed


The Programme

The Human Engine delivery team used a five step approach to this project: 

  1. Define and Discover – Project kick-off. Worked through a project mobilisation checklist with our key stakeholders from City of London. Engagement approaches and initial data/information requirements discussed and agreed.

  2. Engage and Explore – Collected and analysed data on income generation activities across the Corporation. Engaged with key commercial and financial colleagues from the Corporation to gain insight into current practices. Undertook assessment of the City of London’s overall commercial capability, capacity and performance against our Commercial Maturity Assessment tool. 

  3. Devise and Develop – Developed recommendations for mid-long term income generation improvement. Developed a process for the Corporation to prioritise income opportunities. Developed a strategy and execution plan for the identified income opportunities. 

  4. Iterate and Improve – Development of the draft outputs and a report from the previous stages concluding our work and recommendations. Shared this with key City of London stakeholders and incorporated feedback. 

  5. Confirm and Conclude – Shared the finalised outputs and report with senior leaders and project stakeholders. Ensured effective handover of the project to City of London, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and tools to implement the proposed changes. 

The Outcomes

The end result from the project was five key deliverables: 


  • Diagnostic Review – The core of our work which informed all deliverables and recommendations. This report summarised best practices, areas for improvement, income generation opportunities, risks to current and future income generation activities and a series of key recommendations to enhance income generation across the Corporation. 

  • Governance Framework – A new framework and structure for the Corporation to use for the governance of commercial / income generation activities. Included the recommendation to introduce a new central Commercial Operations Group (COG) to review, progress and manage income generation activities. 

  • Income Generation Portfolio – A comprehensive and condensed single view of all income generated across the Corporation, using available data. Included the collation of over £140m of income across hundreds of service lines. A new organisation wide summary dashboard was developed using automation and business intelligence tools to indicate the performance monitoring possibilities as practice and data improves.

  • Commercial Toolkit – A set of tools and templates for the Corporation to use moving forwards to enhance the performance and monitoring of commercial activities. 

  • Commercial Implementation Strategy – A four year commercial implementation strategy which sets out key priorities and recommendations for the Corporation. A series of recommendations to enhance the overall commercial performance of the organisation, alongside more specific recommendations for individual income opportunities, with a detailed roadmap in how to deliver these.

About Us

Human Engine is a Financial Times top-ranked management consultancy with specialisms in strategy, change, digital, commercial and projects.  

It was founded in 2018 with a belief that the public sector deserves better than it gets from traditional consulting firms – more human, more personal and more knowledgeable of the reality of delivering modern public services.

We have worked with dozens of public sector organisations to help transform their strategies, operations and cultures to be more agile, commercial and entrepreneurial in order to achieve financial sustainability and improved outcomes for customers and communities. 

Our mission is to help individuals and organisations to do the best work of their lives.  We do this by blending first-hand experience of the problems we help our clients solve with award-winning consulting expertise and an approach based on trust, collaboration and partnership. 

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