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Corporate Peer Challenge (September 2023)

We requested a Corporate Peer Challenge from the Local Government Association which took place in September 2023.

A Peer Challenge involves a team of local government peers spending time at the Council to provide challenge and shared learning aimed at improving, not judging, the Council. It is not an inspection, but a tool for improvement and will help us identify key areas of focus for us going forward.

The Challenge is a tried and trusted method of improvement; it provides councils with a robust and effective improvement tool which is owned and delivered by the sector, for the sector. Peers are able to provide a ‘practitioner perspective’ and ‘critical friend’ challenge.

There is no charge for a Corporate Peer Challenge.

The Peer Challenge process

The Peer reviewers were at Priory House for four days between Tuesday 19-Friday 22 September 2023.

Peers reviewed a range of information to ensure we were familiar with the Council, the challenges it is facing and its plans for the future. They gathered information and views from circa 50 meetings and spoke to circa 150 people including a range of council staff together with Members and external stakeholders.

The Peer Team explored the core components that underpin good performance, which all corporate peer challenges cover:

  • Local priorities and outcomes: Are the council’s priorities clear and informed by the local context? Is the council delivering effectively on its priorities and achieving improved outcomes for all its communities?
  • Organisational and place leadership: Does the council provide effective local leadership? Are there good relationships with partner organisations and local communities?
  • Governance and culture: Are there clear and robust governance arrangements? Is there a culture of respect, challenge and scrutiny?
  • Financial planning and management: Does the council have a clear understanding of its current financial position? Does the council have a strategy and a clear plan to address its financial challenges?
  • Capacity for improvement: Is the organisation able to support delivery of local priorities? Does the council have the capacity to improve?

Results and actions

View or download the full report from the Peer Challenge (PDF)

View or download the Council’s action plan (PDF).

The peer challenge also offers a follow-up visit within 12 months after the original challenge to help assess the impact and the progress made against areas for improvement identified during the process.