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LGA launches Sector Support Programme 2023/24

The Local Government Association has launched its Sector Support Programme for 2023/24 to provide councils with the tools and support they need to deliver vital local services to communities, while helping to address challenges, drive forward change and improvement.

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The Local Government Association has launched its Sector Support Programme for 2023/24 to provide councils with the tools and support they need to deliver vital local services to communities, while helping to address challenges, drive forward change and improvement.

The support offer, primarily funded by the UK Government, continues to be hugely valued by councils, with 99 per cent of chief executives and 91 per cent of council leaders reporting that LGA support had resulted in a positive impact on their local authority.

Building on this success, the Sector Support Programme will provide new and established elements across key support areas—agreed with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities—including Governance, Leadership, Finance and Workforce.

The programme will also launch a series of new tools and resources as part of a new Transformation programme. This will provide direct support and advice, in addition to learning and development opportunities, to help local authorities to deliver on their transformation priorities, supporting a range of areas and needs.

The LGA’s flagship leadership programme will continue to attract new talent through growing the hugely popular and successful National Graduate Development Programme. The leadership offer is also being expanded through new and enhanced development opportunities, in partnership with Solace, which will focus on nurturing the pipeline of officer talent within local government from rising stars to chief executives.

Well-established political leadership programmes will continue to provide development to councillors at all stages of their career through the range of opportunities available through the Highlighting Political Leadership offer.  

Ninety-nine per cent of councillors reported that their participation in a Leadership Essentials course helped them improve the way that they carry out their role. Figures show that 100 per cent of Leadership Academy delegates said that the programme helped them and/or their council.  

Peer challenges remain a cornerstone of LGA support, with this year’s programme focussing on providing local authorities with Corporate Peer Challenges, Finance Peer Challenges and Governance Peer Challenges.

Additional peer challenge offers, spanning areas such as children’s services, adult social care, cyber, culture and planning and communications will continue as part of the wider sector support offer.

Corporate Peer Challenges focus on key areas of importance for councils and are a well-established tool for improvement and assurance. The LGA’s most recent survey shows that this process is hugely valued by LGA members, with all councils that had a Corporate Peer Challenge in 2022/23 reporting that this had a positive impact for their authority.

The new offer will also feature a major new element to the programme with the development of a support and assurance framework for local government.

Discussions with the sector have already begun on mapping the various elements that provide assurance of the performance of local government. 

LG Inform – the LGA’s freely available, award-winning data platform – remains a crucial part of the assurance infrastructure and the sector support programme. This powerful benchmarking tool uniquely integrates thousands of local-level data items in a single system, which allows councils and the public to compare performance against other authorities.

Councils which have experienced a change of control following recent elections are encouraged to consider the range of support available to them as part of our post elections support, including top team development and a wider range of bespoke offers provided by expert peers and regional teams.

Cllr Abi Brown, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said:

“We are delighted to announce the launch of our Sector Support Programme for councils for 2023/24.

“This year’s programme will continue to provide local authorities with the support they need to deliver critical services to their communities while driving change and improvement.

“Our governance and finance offers will support councils to improve performance, governance and capacity, while our leadership programme will attract and develop new and existing talent in local government.

“Our Corporate Peer Challenge programme is an important way that councils can further their improvement journey. All councils are encouraged to take up this opportunity.

“This is in addition to the many wider improvement programmes including Children’s Services, Partners in Care and Health, cyber digital and technology, One Public Estate, PAS (Planning Advisory Service), and more.

“All of this support remains guided by a sector-led improvement approach. Support is shaped through direct engagement with the sector to ensure that local authorities have the support they most value and need to deliver on aspirations for their areas and local communities.”

Notes to editors