Vast majority of councils say sector-led improvement is right approach

The vast majority of councils say that the Local Government Association’s sector-led improvement (SLI) is the right approach to improvement, an independent report reveals today.

Sector-led improvement

Meeting in an office

The independent report, conducted by Shared Intelligence and commissioned by the LGA, reviewed its SLI offer over the last three years and collected feedback from councils. It found very high levels of satisfaction with 80 per cent of councils believing that the LGA’s SLI offer added value to the sector.

Between April 2017 and April 2020, more than 4,000 instances of sector-led improvement support were delivered to councils, including 447 Peer reviews and follow-up visits. In total, all councils received at least six parts of the SLI offer.

The LGA said that the independent report clearly illustrates that SLI remains a valid approach and an important tool for support within the sector. It highlighted that councils are keen for there to be a longer-term funding arrangement for SLI, to ensure that councils can receive the improvement support they need, including to reinforce the leading role of councils in local recovery and renewal over the next three years.

This is underpinned by the LGAs latest perception survey which revealed that 94 per cent of leaders and 98 per cent of chief executives say support from the LGA has a positive impact on their authority.

Data collected by the LGA also shows that more than 94 per cent of participants on the LGA’s Next Generation course between 2017 and 2019 believed it had a positive impact on their ability to carry out their role. 

The current MoU arrangement between the LGA and the Department for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is agreed on an annual basis.

Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • The take-up of the variety of SLI offers is high and the satisfaction levels are ‘remarkably high’
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of senior leaders within the sector who consider that SLI is the right approach
  • The LGAs Support offer has strengthened the sector’s capacity to improve itself
  • Extensive and very positive evidence of the impact of SLI on councils’ effectiveness, improvement and innovation

The report has been published alongside another independent report on the LGA’s SLI programme for Children’s Services which highlights the ‘significantly positive impact on improvements in council children’s services’ that this offer has made. Following the reviews, the LGA will now work closely with the sector to help shape its future SLI offer.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said:

“This independent evaluation and review shows that sector-led improvement is a local government success story.  

“The evidence and feedback collected clearly demonstrates the overwhelming support for SLI and the very high levels of satisfaction with our offer.

“It is therefore no surprise that during these challenging times, councils are utilising our SLI offer to find the best solutions to support their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we look ahead to the recovery period, we will continue to work closely with the Government and councils to embed sector-led strengths, bringing fresh ideas and innovation, utilising clear data and evidence and securing longer-term funding for SLI. This report provides us with some helpful reflections to further enhance SLI in the future.

‘The report also rightly emphasises the importance of ensuring councils can continue to directly shape our SLI offer and we’ll be working closely with all councils over the coming months to ensure that SLI fully reflects what councils need over the next three years’.