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Local Government Association Peer Reviews

AWICS is assisting the Local Government Association with peer reviews by providing expert advice on financial diagnostic reports. Adrian Waite has also assisted as lead associate consultant on a financial peer review.

Peer Challenge is a core element of the Local Government Association’s sector-led improvement offer to local authorities, the approach to which is set out in ‘Sector led improvement in local government’ and that has received high levels of support from councils who overwhelmingly endorse the key principles on which it is based:

  • Councils are responsible for their own performance
  • Stronger local accountability leads to further improvement
  • Councils have a sense of collective responsibility for performance in the sector as a whole
  • The role of the Local Government Association is to help councils by providing the necessary support.

The offer of support set out in ‘Sector-led improvement in local government’ is a core part of the Local Government Association’s offer to councils and includes a range of free of charge / subsidised tools and support for councils.

A major part of the support is the offer to each council and fire and rescue service to have a corporate peer challenge (at no charge) at a time of its choosing.

Peer challenges are managed and delivered by the sector for the sector. They are improvement focused; the scope is agreed with the council and tailored to reflect their local needs and specific requirements.

The peer teams involve peers from across the sector and beyond. Their ambition is to help the council to respond to its local priorities and issues in its own way to greatest effect.

There are some design principles that it is important to understand:

  • Peer challenge is not an inspection, it is a tool for improvement. Peer challenge is carried out to the Council’s specification aimed at improving, not judging, the council.
  • Peer challenge should be undertaken at a time that most suits a council and focus on what is of most importance to a council.
  • A scoping meeting at the outset involving a visit by Local Government Association representatives is an essential feature. The council’s specific needs, the areas it wants to focus on, the make-up of the team and the results it wants to achieve will be discussed and agreed.
  • Peer Challenge should include some focus on leadership, governance, corporate capacity and financial resilience. These form a core component of all corporate peer challenges.
  • The process should be proportionate – minimising the burden (rather than making unnecessary demands that absorb capacity and divert attention) focusing on making appropriate preparation and maximising the benefits.

More information about the Local Government Association’s Peer Reviews can be found on their website at: http://www.local.gov.uk/peer-challenge

For more information on how AWICS can support local authorities please contact Adrian Waite at adrian.waite@awics.co.uk or 017683-51498 or click HERE

One of Slough Borough Council's offices.

Adrian Waite was lead associate in a Local Government Association financial peer review for the Council.

More Information about Local Authority Finance

For more information about our seminar: 'All You Want to Know about Local Authority Finance' please click HERE

For more information about in-house training in local government finance, please click HERE

For more information about management consulting advice and assistance for local government, please click HERE

For more information about our publication: 'All You Want to Know about Local Authority Finance' please click HERE

To download our 'Public Services News' newsletter, please click HERE

To download briefing papers on local authority finance, please click HERE

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