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Prudently innovative

Public sector finances are under ever-increasing pressures. But at one source, we believe this should not automatically lead to poorer services. Fiscal prudence must always be a priority. But since innovation is often the most prudent way forward: our commercial expertise, community focus and unique thinking mean we can raise standards and lower costs – at the same time.

Some of the performance and value we add comes from the breadth of our offering. We’re one of the UK’s leading public sector shared services, with established teams focused on Legal and Governance, Asset Management, Procurement, HR, OD, Payroll, ICT, Enforcement and Health & Safety. So, aside from the economies of scale we offer across our services – we can call on all kinds of specialists to give you the perfect solution.

Sometimes that means streamlining financial and accounting operations. On other occasions, we’ve embedded technologies to give our clients an edge. But whether we’re hitting budget targets, evolving to meet regulations, improving sustainability or shaping processes around COVID-19; there’s more to us than ‘cost effectiveness’. We’re a collaborative partner that blends a commercial eye with a sense for the community – to give you ideas and inspiration.

As well as delivering savings, cutting timelines and improving customer care; we’ve won awards for ‘Good Governance’, ‘Secure Income Strategy’, and ‘Fund of the Year (above £750m)’ at the LGC and LAPF Investment Awards. We’re financial pioneers too, developing ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) policies that have led to low carbon investment strategies.

We’re here to help with the now – to make the changes you need to meet your financial objectives. But with our eye for technology and deep understanding of the public sector – we’re ready to help you navigate the future too.

We’ve successfully embedded solutions that have streamlined all kinds of financial controls and activities. However, there’s more to this than just systems: it’s often the interactions with end users where technology can have the greatest impact. Quite often, these benefits are the most eye-catching too, helping to reinforce your reputation as an innovative public sector service.

Our innovative solutions and strategic thinking can be utilised across your operations in a huge variety of ways. But whatever the challenge, we’ll work hard to give you the rock-solid finances and financial processes that enable you to give your communities the quality services they deserve.

  • Business partnering

    Where other consultants have to build their approach from a standing start; we already deliver services across almost every aspect of local government every single day. We’re always at the forefront of innovation across the sector which means we can add value to the way to shape your financial approach: helping you analyse services, formulate strategies, make smart commercial decisions, or even handle negotiations.

    We also offer experienced consultancy around commercial and investment initiatives. Whether advising on structured borrowing for a real estate vision; management of an owned shopping centre; a sales strategy for an unwanted asset. Whatever the challenge, we’ll help you make smart decisions that ensure you get the best possible value.

  • Financial strategy

    We have some of the most respected public sector finance figures here at one source. People with the strategic experience and practical knowhow to take an organisation of any size, in any climate – and improve its finances. More than simply delivering blue-sky, big picture thinking; we’ll work with you to understand all the finer details, establish how fit for purpose your services really are, so you have a comprehensive roadmap to success.

  • Pensions and treasury

    Our team manages around £3bn-worth of investments and £3.7bn of liabilities or £6.7bn of risk. One of the industry’s most respected departments, they’ve raised Newham’s pension funding by 23 percentage points over the last seven years to now being almost fully funded – reducing the authority’s annual pension deficit contribution by around £13.7m a year.

    In fact, the treasury team has delivered the best risk adjusted and absolute returns on investments among 18 London Authorities in the Link benchmarking club consistently for the past decade. We’ve implemented and helped shape investment strategies that pivoted LGPS Funds toward income yielding assets in both Newham and Havering so that the Funds can pay monthly pensions as they mature. Additionally, their asset base is now better diversified: delivering stable returns that protected Fund asset values, even through the unprecedented market volatility in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

    In short, we’re experts in every stage of the cycle. Experienced in developing and implementing strategies, overseeing the triennial valuation process, advising committees and Boards, managing risk, overseeing fund managers, London CIV, actuaries and banks, and producing financial reporting and delivering clean audits.

    We’ve also completed a lot of work over the past year with members to develop an ESG policy that supports Councils’ values and climate change action plans. These have included moving equity assets into the ESG friendly LGIM Future world passive index, and bond assets to the ESG embedded bond fund. We’ve also selected fund managers on their ESG credentials, improved ESG reporting and developed ESG metrics to measure carbonisation in response TCFD regulation.

    The team have also championed this approach: engaging with fund managers and encouraging a change in Corporate Lobbying of LCIV to widen portfolios of green investment products – to the extent that our pension officers created a LCIV seed group to develop a LCIV low carbon passive fund.

  • Corporate business systems

    Digital applications now offer more than efficiency with high-volume, process-driven tasks – to enhance more strategic financial management activities. However, we all know how frustrating the wrong solution can be. At one source, we know what technologies work and when to use them.

    We focus on developing services that enhance the use of systems and providing information that improves decision-making. Plus, we take on the risk involved in investing in new innovations – so you simply get a service that works.

  • Risk management and insurance

    Risk management is more than risk registers. The application of data analytics can inform and improve your financial control environment and help you focus resources on areas of material concern.

    Our teams provide proven public sector expertise on demand – ready to assess risks, then assist with contingency planning: giving your people and services the support they need, when they need it. In addition, our shared service insurance brokering creates further opportunities for improvements.

  • Financial controls

    Our broad accounting experience makes us the perfect partner when it comes to enhancing your financial controls. Accounting standards, financial statements, operating metrics, fiscal policies, reconciliations, approvals, disbursements and information security – we can manage every element of operations, guarantee transparency, and provide insights and reports on both a macro and granular level.

  • Internal audit and counter fraud

    We’ve an industry-leading approach to audit and counter fraud. Compliance and best practice are always adhered to. But our model flexes around you: with bespoke systems and processes that plan and run audits with minimal disruption. The result? Documentation that helps you meet your regulatory responsibilities; and insights that help you improve the way you work.

Case studies

A wide variety of clients rely on our financial expertise for the smooth day-to-day running of operations, as well as more targeted, project-led initiatives. Here are some of our success stories.

Apprenticeships Talent Hub

Our Talent Hub helps Havering and Newham councils maximise the Apprenticeships Levy by identifying skills gaps, improving diversity and creating more effective programmes.

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Case Study
Apprenticeships Talent Hub

Our Talent Hub helps Havering and Newham councils maximise the Apprenticeships Levy by identifying skills gaps, improving diversity and creating more effective programmes.

Any organisation whose annual salary bill tops £3m has to pay the 0.5% Apprenticeships Levy. The money is then topped up by government and put into a fund for employers to invest in apprentices’ training over the next 24 months.

Any funds that aren’t spent over those two years are reclaimed by HMRC. So it’s vital that Havering and Newham Councils get the most for the £1m+ they put in their funds each year. Our solution? A Talent Hub that maximises their apprenticeship schemes’ reach and impact.

A dedicated central team

In practice, the team behind the Talent Hub work with line managers and training providers to create programmes that fill skills gaps at each Council – not just for more junior roles, but higher and degree-level apprenticeships.

They make sure the door’s open to everyone – internal and external applicants from all backgrounds, including care leavers and young people living in poverty. And finally, they oversee the programme, ensuring the apprentices get the high-quality learning to excel.

A conveyor belt of success stories

The first Talent Hub-led programmes recruited five degree-level Social Workers for Havering and Newham. They’re all now in hard-to-fill permanent roles, and studying towards their Level 6 Social Worker Apprenticeship.

More recently, the team helped four people already at Havering start Building Control degree apprenticeships, and a further five people – two existing and three new hires – join the Level 7 Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship, a particularly tough area to recruit for. And in terms of softer skills, six Newham managers are taking the Emerging Leaders programme run by SOLACE – experts in public sector senior leadership.

Put together, the future’s looking very bright for Newham and Havering’s apprenticeships. The Talent Hub is a unique solution that’s making great strides in not only ensuring the Levy is good value for money for both Councils – but delivering the right people, with the right skills.

Helping Newham use wellbeing to fight COVID

The once-in-a-generation challenge of COVID-19 has shone a light on the importance of employee wellbeing. Our measures ensured everyone at Newham had the support they needed and deserved.

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Case Study
Helping Newham use wellbeing to fight COVID

The once-in-a-generation challenge of COVID-19 has shone a light on the importance of employee wellbeing. Our measures ensured everyone at Newham had the support they needed and deserved.

Our holistic wellbeing programme had been a core part of our portfolio of services for a few years. As well as our own initiatives, it was built on best practices developed by organisations as diverse as: NHS and Public Health organisations, Deloitte and our own Health Champions Network.

Importantly, we looked at the issue from every angle – we built awareness, turned understanding into action, and provided support and flexibility. We laid the path for a wellbeing journey.


As the pandemic evolved, we didn’t need to read the endless newspaper articles to know the people in our care would likely need the programme in greater numbers. We saw how stressful it was navigating through such uncertain times: fatigue, fear, the repetitiveness of Zoom call after Zoom call, and the gap between logging off and logging on feeling shorter by the day.

So, rather than reacting as events progressed, we set about learning how we could help Newham’s people through the crisis.

Responding at speed

Our first act was to set up a Wellbeing Subgroup of our most respected professionals. They looked at Newham’s wellbeing services, and what people would need during the pandemic – and highlighted the gaps.

Throughout, the team was mindful of the practicalities. Was a solution worthwhile? Is it being delivered in the right from? Would it be useful for people working from home, on critical frontline services, continuing in their normal place of work and those needing to shield?

A comprehensive approach

Naturally, mental health support was a key priority. We created the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) support network, made up of employees who could be ‘booked’ for 30-minute private chats. We also added extra layers to the existing Employee Assistance Programme, including Group Resilience – helping entire families – and Bereavement Support.

All the details were on the intranet, and we drip fed communications, so everyone knew there was help if they needed it.

As time went on, specific services got in touch for advice. One conversation led to our ‘Wellbeing Conversations – A conversation worth having’ training module for Newham’s Children Social Work managers.

And taking a step further, we went on to work with CMT and psychologist and restorative wellbeing specialists to create our ‘Time to Talk’ initiative, where internal volunteers support colleagues by making the time to sit down with them and have honest wellbeing conversations.

Elsewhere, we delivered targeted sessions for Hub Managers feeling the strain of having such a responsibility for their community. We created and ran wellbeing other audience-specific workshops in person and over Zoom – sometimes for hundreds of people at a time, at other times for small leadership teams.

Keeping things normal

The annual staff survey in June 2020 was the perfect opportunity for us to understand how people were coping, what support was working, and what services were still perhaps missing.

One thing became abundantly clear: people needed hope. Everyone took great pride in supporting councils, communities and residents. But they needed to know there was a long-term plan, and that there were still things to celebrate.

This tied in well with our work on the Council’s staff benefits site, which also launched that June. While it was held virtually, Newham’s staff awards were also a roaring success. And to prove the new normal was a lot like the old normal, we brought to life an initiative we floated in 2019 – a cross-Council Wellbeing Week, with events ranging from Dealing with Stress and Anxiety in Difficult Times, to Let’s Talk About Menopause.

Building wellbeing that lasts

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that organisations with innovative and creative HR &OD teams have created stronger bonds with their people.

With a detailed and targeted approach to wellbeing, we ramped up Newham’s wellbeing strategy to deliver good value, cost-effective initiatives in trying circumstances. And these initiatives are going further than simply solving practical symptoms of any issues.

They’re giving people the opportunity to have real conversations about topics that used to be taboo, such as mental health. They’re helping us connect virtually and metaphorically more than ever. And they’re strengthening people’s resilience and agility – to everyone’s benefit.

We have some of the most innovative and respected public sector shared services in the UK.

Your challenges are unique – but our experience makes us the perfect people to find the perfect solution. What’s more: we only work with the public sector. We share your passion for the communities you serve.