Feedback report 20th-22nd September 2021
At the recent local elections in May 2021 Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) became a Conservative controlled council. The new cabinet has been keen to seek out opportunities to improve the work of the council, embracing support and learning from across the sector to do this. Commissioning this LGA Corporate Peer Challenge is a clear example of this and the willingness of everyone involved to engage fully in the process as an opportunity for reflection and to inform future development opportunities for NBBC has been very positive.
The council is in a good place and four months following the election the new administration and managerial leadership appear to be working well together. Plans are well advanced on developing the new corporate plan ‘Building a Better Borough’ and both politicians and officers are focused on delivering positive change for the borough’s communities. There are regular opportunities to work together and the ‘one team’ approach is developing. There are further opportunities to build on this and ensure that all the leadership team are aligned on the areas of priority, and this will come with the new corporate plan. This plan, including the Nuneaton Town Centre Strategy and Economic Development Strategy, needs to be underpinned by robust data, finalised and widely communicated to staff, partners and the community to ensure that NBBC’s ambitions and priorities are well understood.
There are financial challenges ahead but the council is well placed to deal with these. There are £1.5m of savings to be made in 2022/23 and £2.2m in 2023/24. Although there will be some difficult decisions to make regarding savings and income generation opportunities NBBC has plans in place to develop proposals and there are existing opportunities within the council’s budget. The peer team consider that NBBC can meet these financial challenges.
The council has a very committed workforce. Staff we met talked with pride about the borough and the ambition the council has for the place. The leadership team is aware of the tremendous asset it has in its existing staff. In common with other councils, staff recruitment in some key areas such as planning, legal and housing is an issue for NBBC. The council should consider how it can go further in attracting potential applicants and use opportunities to better market job vacancies to outline the benefits of working for NBBC. The recruitment process is seen as being slow and would benefit from being streamlined. This can be considered in the role of strategic HR and the development of the people strategy.
Due to previous work in 2015, the council was well positioned at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to operate in an agile way and for service delivery to continue. This has stood NBBC in good stead, but clarity is now needed for the future. There will be opportunities for NBBC to consider how to maximise its use of staff resources in a flexible way to deliver the business and the use of its physical assets, such as Nuneaton Town Hall.
There remains work to do to improve the council’s approach to internal and external communications. NBBC will want to ensure that everyone knows what the council is doing and why. This applies to some of the exciting regeneration works and ways the council is supporting its communities as well as some of the decisions which are being made on what the council may stop or reduce doing. Explaining the choices the council is making is important and providing a narrative for this ensures that your communities and partners understand your long term ambitions.
The peer team saw a huge amount of positives for the council to build on and there are building blocks in place for NBBC to set out and deliver its future ambitions for the borough
There are a number of observations and suggestions within the main section of the report. The following are the peer team’s key recommendations to the council:
Continue to capitalise on the positive progress made with cabinet member and senior management relationships, and embed across the organisation to develop positive relations more widely
Progress plans to meet the future financial challenges including the development of the three year MTFS and plans for income, savings and investments.
Finalise the new corporate plan and ensure this supports the priorities of the council, is widely consulted on with partners and communicated for clarity across the council.
Ensure staff recruitment and retention is linked to the people strategy and underlying policies
Provide clarity on the council’s future direction re: Covid-19 recovery e.g. next steps for agile working versus on site in the Town Hall
Complete the development of some of the key strategies e.g. Economic Development Strategy, Town Centre Strategy.
Ensure key projects have a clear purpose i.e. maximise income generation opportunities, social value etc
Consider the effective and consistent use of appropriate data to inform decision making
Undertake a residents’ survey
Review the internal and external approach to communications to ensure this supports priorities and ambitions
Summary of the peer challenge approach
3.1 The peer team
Peer challenges are delivered by experienced elected members and officer peers. The make-up of the peer team reflected the focus of the peer challenge and peers were selected on the basis of their relevant expertise. The peers were:
- Jeff Stack – Chief Executive, Broxbourne Borough Council
- Cllr Peter Fleming – Leader, Sevenoaks District Council
- Sanjit Sull - Monitoring Officer, Borough Solicitor, Service Manager – Chief Executives Department, Rushcliffe Borough Council
- Dawn Garton - Director for Corporate Services & Section 151 Officer, Melton Borough Council
- James Millington - Peer Challenge Manager, Local Government Association
3.2 Scope and focus
The peer team considered the following five themes which form the core components of all corporate peer challenges. These areas are critical to councils’ performance and improvement.
- Local priorities and outcomes - Are the council’s priorities clear and informed by the local context? Is the council delivering effectively on its priorities?
- 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 challenge and scrutiny?
- Financial planning and management - Does the council have a grip on its current financial position? Does the council have a strategy and a 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?
3.3 The peer challenge process
Peer challenges are improvement focused; it is important to stress that this was not an inspection. The process is not designed to provide an in-depth or technical assessment of plans and proposals. The peer team used their experience and knowledge of local government to reflect on the information presented to them by people they met, things they saw and material that they read.
The peer team prepared by reviewing a range of documents and information in order to ensure they were familiar with the council and the challenges it is facing. The team then spent three days onsite at Nuneaton and Bedworth BC, during which they:
- Gathered information and views from more than 30 meetings, in addition to further research and reading.
- Spoke to more than 80 people including a range of council staff together with members and external stakeholders.
This report provides a summary of the peer team’s findings. In presenting feedback, they have done so as fellow local government officers and members.
4.1 Local priorities and outcomes
The council has a huge amount of information available on its area and its communities. This is important when considering the particular challenges and advantages of the place, which are different even when compared to other neighbouring boroughs within Warwickshire. NBBC recognises the geographical advantages it has in relation to its strategic position on the national transport network; destination parks and close proximity to the MIRA Technology Park Enterprise Zone. It also has a full understanding of its challenges to address the socio-economic and health issues of its communities. These challenges were reflected in the ‘Delivering Our Future’ corporate plan adopted in 2019 and still remain important, especially in the light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the local elections in May 2021 and the change of control to a Conservative administration, the new cabinet has driven forward the development of ‘Building a Better Borough’ - the new corporate plan. The peer team have seen good progress on this plan, which is being developed collaboratively by the new cabinet and senior management team. This will include establishing clear aims and objectives with key performance indicators within a robust governance framework. Alongside this the peer team recommend that the links between the council’s priorities and financial strategy are reinforced through this new corporate plan.
A wide ranging consultation programme is planned with councillors, staff, the public and partners prior to the new corporate plan’s approval in February 2022. Swift joint work between the administration and the managerial team demonstrates how quickly NBBC has been able to positively hit the ground running following the change in political control to develop this at pace.
The use of data to understand and deliver on the council’s challenges will remain important and NBBC should continue to identify appropriate sources to inform its plans. Also, as part of this drive to gather and use information, the council should look to undertake a thorough residents’ survey. The last one from 2014 is now out of date and would benefit from being designed with the input of specialists in this area, to provide essential feedback from your communities. This would be an ideal time to do this and support the articulation of NBBC’s ambitions. The survey will also provide a useful baseline to assess the impact of the new corporate strategy in the future if regular periodic surveys are carried out on an ongoing basis. The LGA has produced guidance and questions with Ipsos MORI which the council can use to deliver its own survey.
Across NBBC there is an obvious passion from members and officers to deliver positive outcomes. This commitment to deliver was demonstrated in the peer team’s conversations with individuals at all levels of the organisation who take pride in their work, with many staff also living within the borough. Staff the peer team spoke to wanted to play their part in delivering positive change for communities, regardless of their role in either support or front-facing services. The council’s staff are a key strength of the organisation and one which it should continue to recognise as vitally important to delivering its priorities.
The peer team recognises that key projects have been driven by the council successfully working with partners and bringing in external funding. This includes the Transforming Nuneaton programme with Warwickshire County Council, £24m funding through the Future High Streets Fund and £13m of funding through the Towns Fund. This facilitates the delivery of significant council priorities and NBBC should be congratulated on securing this funding.
The are some key strategies which NBBC has in development which would now benefit from being finalised. The peer team recognise there are individual strands which are already in progress but bringing these together more formally within a strategy would more clearly set out the council’s intentions. This includes the Town Centre Strategy for Nuneaton, Climate Change Strategy and Economic Development Strategy. These are important for the borough and the peer team suggest that these are completed for clarity of the council’s intentions and are then communicated widely.
The peer team felt there is scope for further improving the way projects are managed by the council. During the review it was sometimes unclear who had responsibility as the senior lead (project sponsor) with oversight of some projects and the mechanisms to manage the delivery of them. The development of an appropriate project management framework with clearly identified senior responsible owners, appropriate governance arrangements including engagement with key support services such as finance and legal to ensure decisions are taken in a lawful and timely way, with standard templates and processes for implementation and monitoring, will strengthen the delivery of NBBC’s projects. This will be important as the council has some high profile and important projects.
Proactive internal and external communications are critical, and the peer team felt there were opportunities for NBBC to improve its approach. This was raised in the most recent staff survey undertaken in November 2019, and in response the council introduced mechanisms including regular bulletins and the sharing of all press releases with staff. However, there remains work to do. Ensuring communications is considered early to explain clearly what the council is aiming to achieve would pay dividends and support effective delivery. The peer team heard how too often staff are unclear on the approach NBBC is taking and how the exciting projects the council is delivering are not being given the profile they warrant. Communications often feels like an after-thought. The plan to refresh the intranet will be key, is welcomed by staff, and NBBC may wish to consider other ways it can ensure staff are kept updated, for instance through internal briefings and management activity. Strengthening internal communication resources would provide clarity to everyone in the organisation, councillors and officers, on what is being achieved.
The council could also be more proactive on its external communications. Staff described how some content on non-council social media was not accurate and shows the organisation in an unflattering light. Issues communicated publicly are impacting public perceptions and in some cases are being vocalised by the public to staff directly. Communications and perceptions are extremely important in terms of the reputation of the council and NBBC will want to consider how facts can be corrected and that the use of social media is proactive, positive and aligned to priorities. Aligning this to NBBC’s priorities, e.g. town centre regeneration and your support to communities, would be a much more positive use of the tools available.
Using existing mechanisms, including social media channels, to highlight the good work of NBBC, could better and more accurately demonstrate what the council is delivering. Good communications and positive messages also recognise and support the good work of your staff and councillors. The LGA would be pleased to offer some assistance to help further develop the council’s approach to internal and external communications, including through a social media workshop and communications support.
4.2 Organisational and place leadership
There are some significant challenges across the borough and the level of ambition the council has is to be applauded. The council uses data and community engagement to understand the needs of its different communities, but this would benefit from further secondary analysis and insight so NBBC can determine what interventions it needs to make to make the greatest difference. Currently it may be unclear to your communities what the council is/will be doing to support them and gaining feedback on this, and further engagement, would provide a richer source of information for NBBC.
There is a clear focus on delivery by the new administration and the political and managerial leadership are committed to deliver change. As it develops its place leader role, the peer team would encourage the council to keep the organisation’s capacity under review in order to deliver its ambitions.
Effective partnerships at different levels are important to the council and it is focused on maintaining and nurturing these. This includes powerful examples of working closely with community groups to unlock funding and deliver community outcomes, for example in meeting health and wellbeing priorities where the council has provided support to the Bedworth Cricket Club and the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton. NBBC is keen to work with partners who are best placed to deliver shared priorities. The council recognises the important role it has as an enabler and facilitator in building and maintaining these.
The peer team heard from partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors about the excellent relations enjoyed with the council. Examples of close and collaborative working were outlined with health, the police and arts organisations as well as examples of effective problem solving with NBBC, for instance in the quick establishment of the Covid-19 vaccination centre based at the Civic Hall in Bedworth. This is recognised by partners and the council is held in high esteem. The peer team heard how partners are keen to build on the close working with NBBC in a number of ways, for example on addressing community safety issues. The council will want to consider how to continue to maximise the impact of its relationships.
Relationships with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and NBBC’s neighbours are positive and productive. For instance, the shared service arrangements with neighbouring North Warwickshire Borough Council (NWBC), including private sector housing and revenues & benefits services, is noted as a particularly beneficial relationship in delivering shared aims, where NBBC is seen as a partner of choice. Additionally, following changes in political leadership at NBBC, relationships with WCC have improved and the council is an area which the county want to continue to work closely with, including on the delivery of the Transforming Nuneaton programme. This relationship is important and the council can build on this for the benefit of its communities.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Community Enterprises Ltd (NABCEL) is the council’s wholly owned delivery body which manages a portfolio of properties, temporary accommodation for homeless people and undertakes housing maintenance work. The peer team see NABCEL as a real financial success for the council and it is forecast to provide an income of £529k in 2021/22. The peer team would encourage NBBC to further consider its potential opportunities for growth and how this can support the delivery of its ambitions.
The ‘one team’ approach of the council’s managerial and political leadership would benefit from further attention. There are some really positive examples of where this is working well already but members and officers are not always fully aligned regarding some key priorities, for example in the approach to the provision of leisure facilities. Building on the approaches already adopted such as regular briefings and the finalised council priorities, will help foster this further. Together these support a wider ‘one team’ approach throughout the organisation, so everyone feels invested in the priorities of the council. The council will want to aim for all officers and members being able to articulate in their own words the priorities of NBBC in a way which resonates with its communities and partners, so they understand the ambitions of the council.
The effective operation of all council services requires hard work by many different departments. The council rightly has an outward facing focus, but it is less clear how you recognise the importance of internal functions including IT and support teams and how they enable the front facing services to deliver. NBBC may want to consider how to reinforce the value and importance of these corporate, enabling functions and the important role they play in delivery. This will support the ‘one team’ approach across the council and help all colleagues to identify their role and importance in delivery.
4.3 Governance and culture
Since the elections in May 2021 the Chief Executive and new Leader have invested time in developing close working relationships. Arrangements including weekly Leader and Chief Executive meetings and the recently instigated monthly joint cabinet and management team meetings facilitate strategic close working between the political and managerial leadership of the council. Regular separate management team and cabinet meetings are also in place. This supports the decision making process and helps the council to efficiently respond to emerging challenges. The peer team would support the leadership of the council continuing to invest time together to move forward in a shared and positive way.
The cabinet members have a sound overview of their individual briefs and can articulate their priorities with passion and commitment. This has been helped in part by the cabinet operating in ‘shadow’ when previously in opposition. Similarly, the chairs of overview and scrutiny are also passionate about their roles and are keen to add value through the potential this mechanism has to support effective council governance. NBBC is considering how best to ensure strategic data is provided to scrutiny to ensure committees have the information they need to work effectively and constructively, including in shaping policy, and will keep this under review.
During the course of the time on-site the peer team attended a planning committee meeting. The peer team found the session to be well run by an effective chair, officers provided good presentations and there were insightful questions and discussion from members. The decision making processes were sound and the culture was one of respect for the process.
Member and officer relations appear to be generally good with many instances of positive working focused on service delivery described to the peer team. Relations continue however to be a work in progress with a legacy of some previous challenges still present, so NBBC will want to continue to maintain a focus on the positive steps it has taken to improve in this area and ensure its governance and culture supports this. The positive development of cabinet and senior officer relationships demonstrate a model for all member/officer relationships and should be embedded throughout the organisation through modelling behaviours. A review of the member officer protocol could be used as a catalyst for positive relationship development.
The new administration has recently reviewed the management structure and moved away from having two executive directors (operations and resources) to appoint a Chief Executive and five directors. This aims to strengthen delivery and focus on outcomes, through the alignment of functions. With a revised structure now in place it may be helpful to keep this under review and the council may wish to more formally review this in 12 months. NBBC may also want to consider how to continue to develop relationships between the council’s statutory officers to enhance governance.
The council recognises that it could be stronger on gathering and using customer service information. NBBC has ambitions to introduce an effective customer service system to collect data and produce a more robust evidence base to inform the council’s service response. The peer team would encourage you to remain focused on this and consider the role of members and officers in this, and the information which this will provide you with.
The council has a strategic risk register in place and this was last updated in August 2021. This is monitored on a monthly basis by the management team, with oversight by the audit & standards committee. There is also an established process in place for reviewing directorate level risks. The peer team did not focus specifically on risk recognition as part of its review but it may be beneficial for consideration to be given to ensuring that all current project risks are adequately recognised in the register and that risk scores are realistic. The peer team would support the council in continuing to actively manage risks and NBBC maintaining its approach of stepping back and reviewing its risks on a regular basis.
4.4 Financial planning and management
The council received an unqualified audit report on its statement of accounts for 2019/20. In 2020/21 the council’s expenditure was close to budget, although there were over and under spends in some services, and the capital programme was underspent. Budget monitoring reporting is made each month to the management team and the leadership board, with formal updates provided to the cabinet and quarterly reports to overview and scrutiny panels. NBBC may want to consider whether the availability of financial information is meeting its needs, and whether members would benefit from more regular and detailed monitoring of financial information e.g. key variances, progress on savings targets, level of reserves throughout 2021/22 and beyond. High level reporting is taking place but there may be an opportunity to strengthen this and provide additional information in a proportionate way in order to discuss and debate future financial challenges. In delivering some of the larger projects in the coming years a closer level of oversight and awareness may be helpful for the council.
The new administration produced an emergency budget in June 2021 to deliver its manifesto pledges. This included reductions in carparking charges and free Christmas and New Year carparking, two deep cleans of Nuneaton and Bedworth town centres and Bulkington village centre and new fly-tipping and CCTV cameras.
NBBC has set a budget for 2021/22 and forecasted a budget gap of £1.5m for 2022/23 and £2.2m for 2023/24. It does not currently have a medium term financial strategy (MTFS) as is traditionally recognisable, but it does have clarity over the level of savings required in future years and clear plans in place to develop the necessary savings plans. This includes budget challenge sessions in October to determine savings and unavoidable growth, an initial budget report approving the first tranche of savings to be considered by cabinet in November, final budget proposals considered and approval by cabinet in January with the final budget and council tax approved by council in February 2022.
The peer team consider that there are clear plans and adequate scope within the current base budget to deliver the level of savings required but NBBC will need to make some difficult decisions. The council will need to consider the political issues around potential savings proposals, consider lead-in times and how to provide assurance on their delivery. There is scope to generate additional income from fees and charges and NBBC’s enterprise strategy, which is currently under development, will provide the basis of this. There are also income opportunities in areas such as pre-planning advice and leisure facilities through income sharing arrangements. Additionally, identification of services which are being subsidised and whether this is in line with the policy for those areas will also help to identify opportunities. The development of a charging policy may also help to provide guidance and support in developing charging strategies. However, opportunities like this will take time to implement and to generate the income required to meet the council’s needs.
There are some exciting projects which the council is delivering over the coming years and NBBC should ensure these projects maximise income generation opportunities alongside social value and do not undermine the income streams which you already have. There are many factors to balance with these decisions and councillors will want to consider the cost/benefits carefully. The peer team would encourage the council to consider revenue returns as well as the capital returns as part of its plans.
The housing revenue account (HRA) has an annual turnover of £26m and approximately 5,800 dwellings. The capital programme for 2020/21 is £17.2m and for 2021/22 is £25.1m, with investment proposed for innovative new build schemes using modern modular methods of construction. The HRA 30 year business plan is refreshed annually and the HRA offers financial sustainability with opportunities for building economies of scale. It is recognised the HRA business plan is based on out of date stock condition surveys but plans are in place to update these over the next 12 to 18 months. However, as a result of data issues current service charges are not based on up to date actual costs and this could generate additional income for both the HRA and general fund. This is important for sustainability and the peer team would recommend that this is reviewed.
The council’s capital programme is ambitious, increasing to £43.9m in 2021/22 and is largely financed through prudential borrowing. The Transforming Nuneaton programme includes NBBC acting as developer for the Abbey Street area of Nuneaton Town Centre and taking on significant borrowing to achieve the regeneration of the town centre. The council is making extensive use of its borrowing powers of £40m for the Abbey Street redevelopment site. Borrowing at the levels envisaged will probably not be sustainable in the long-term and the peer team would recommend that the impact and affordability of the borrowing plans on the revenue budget are more clearly assessed as they are currently under-developed.
The council has plans in place to review the level of reserves in order to release any surplus earmarked reserves. This is important to the financial sustainability of the council and the peer team support NBBC to maintain this approach. It may be helpful for members to be clear on the level of reserves, the policy related to these and future intentions.
The peer team heard how the council’s finance team felt valued, respected and involved in decision making across the organisation. This highlights the importance of financial planning and management for the council and staff feeling valued for the contribution they make in delivering this important function.
4.5 Capacity for improvement
The council is on an improvement journey and requested this corporate peer challenge to “open [itself] up to external feedback and fresh ideas about the next steps… to build a better borough”. NBBC is seeking ideas to improve from elsewhere as well encouraging feedback from staff.
The political and managerial leadership has a desire to seek opportunities to do things differently and to deliver for the borough. The peer team see this as a real strength for the organisation but the council’s ability to step back and review the bigger picture can be limited as the organisation is so focused on the here and now. As part of the corporate plan priority setting process the peer team would encourage you to look at horizon scanning in a more strategic way.
There are huge opportunities for improvement across the breadth of the council and you have the willingness of your staff to do this. People have been working hard to respond to the borough’s needs throughout the Covid-19 response and recovery period. From NBBC’s August 2021 work/life balance & future working and mental well-being surveys, 70% of respondents would recommend the council as an employer, citing the ability to work in an agile and flexible way as being key benefits of working for NBBC. However, under two thirds (59.8%) of staff said they had a good work-life balance and the sickness absence outturn for 2020/21 was 8.12 days per FTE employee, which although under the target of 8.75 NBBC is keen to continue to improve on. The council has reviewed its data which highlighted a trend of increasing absences due to mental health issues and is currently working towards foundation level of the Thrive at Work initiative. It was clear in the peer team’s discussions that the leadership team value its staff as an important asset and is committed to investing in support for them.
Staff themselves are invested in the positive future of the borough and they value the training opportunities and benefits of working for the council. This includes mandatory and development training such as e-Learning, with staff commenting how opportunities they request are supported by NBBC. To ensure staff continue to have the tools they need to deliver the council’s new corporate plan the council may wish to adapt this suite of training materials.
Given capacity constraints, there will be a need for prioritisation to consider how available resources may need to be directed to deliver council ambitions. There is some evidence of capacity building in some areas of the council but a greater focus will be needed.
Due to the work undertaken in 2015 to review and replace the IT infrastructure the council was in a good place to respond in an agile way to the challenges of maintaining service delivery at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. Homeworking was already supported with around 25% of connections typically made outside of the office, and this facilitated the transition to 97%+ of staff homeworking from March 2020. However, the policies that support this agile working are now out of date and would benefit form a refresh to ensure they provide clarity. These building blocks for a new way of working could provide a good basis for the future and may support some of your recruitment challenges, for example by highlighting the council as an attractive proposition to potential applicants by widening to a larger geographical recruitment area who are able to work in an agile way.
In common with other areas the peer team heard that recruitment remains a challenge in some key areas of the business including planning, legal and housing services - but the recruitment processes at NBBC could be reviewed. The council will want to review what more it can do in order to meet some of these challenges and consider the strategic HR role throughout the recruitment process from attracting potential applicants and supporting them through the applications process to the support needed by managers to fill vacancies. Staff spoke highly about the benefits of working for the council and the exciting work opportunities. The peer team would recommend reviewing what more can be done to advertise these opportunities and attract applicants and the role of the council’s HR policies and People Strategy in this. As part of this the LGAs’ National Graduate Development Programme would also be worth considering to complement the council’s approach and provide opportunities to fill gaps in key parts of the organisation.
Clarity is now needed on the council’s future direction as part of the organisational approach to Covid-19 recovery and the next steps for agile working. There is now scope to design the next steps in your agile working journey and ensure the right work is being done at the right place within the organisation. The council will also want to consider how this impacts on its use of assets, including Nuneaton Town Hall.
The council already delivers a number of shared services and works with councils including NWBC, Rugby Borough Council (procurement), Lichfield District Council (building control) and Coventry City Council (kerbside recycling and trade waste collection). As part of NBBC’s continued improvement, as well as potential for efficiencies, the council may want to explore its appetite to explore further additional opportunities to build on your current practice.
It is recognised that senior political and managerial leadership will want to consider, discuss and reflect on these findings.
Both the peer team and LGA are keen to build on the relationships formed through the peer challenge. The CPC process includes a six-month check-in meeting. This will be a short, facilitated session which creates space for the council’s senior leadership to update peers on its progress against the action plan and discuss next steps.
In the meantime, Helen Murray, Principal Adviser for the West Midlands, is the main contact between your authority and the Local Government Association. Helen.email@example.com