IT is the key phase in Winchester City Council’s financial strategy – yet some councillors are still unsure what it exactly means.

The council has described its strategy as an “entrepreneurial”, which has led to arguments about whether this is appropriate.

Some councillors have stated that it clearly means “taking risks”.

At full council, councillor Roger Huxstep questioned what the practical definition of it is.

Council leader Caroline Horrill said that the strategy is to cope with the financial challenge ahead of the authority due to cuts in government funding.

She said: “Traditional ways of tackling this problem such as salami-slicing council budgets are no longer an option if we want to keep providing excellent services to our residents, businesses and visitors; we will not have the funds to slice in the future.

“We therefore define an entrepreneurial approach as one which uses the skills and approach derived from the private sector in order to save money and generate new income streams in order to make the council financially viable, and exploits new opportunities to gain financial and social value to the council and those we represent.”

She said being entrepreneurial means having an “innovative and imaginative” mindset about using resources, maintaining an open mind when exploring new ways for delivering services, and maximizing opportunities to make income.”

She added: “We have considered managed decline, maintaining the status quo and basing our plans on hoping the financial problem will go away. We do not believe any of these represent what is in the best interests of those we serve and so will use an entrepreneurial approach, so that in a tough financial climate we will deliver our outcomes that benefit the whole district.”

Cllr Horrill said that the approach was not about risking public money, but, “an attitude of mind about being open to new things and not always being behind the curve.”