Enabling learning, development and improvement: being a peer as part of the LGA peer challenge programme.
At the heart of the peer challenge process are local government officers and councillors (and others) who voluntarily spend their time as ‘peers' at a council they have no direct association with, to contribute to its improvement and learning. It is an incredibly powerful demonstration of a ‘sector-led' approach. As fellow local government practitioners, peers bring an immediate credibility, trust and mutual respect to the challenge process.
An independent external evaluation of the Corporate Peer Challenge programme in 2014 (‘Supporting Councils to Succeed') made the point that the sustained success of the peer challenge programme relies upon the participation of high-quality peers. It stressed the importance of councils continuing to understand the benefits of releasing their senior officers and councillors to participate in peer challenges. A more recent evaluation (‘Rising to the Challenge’ 2017) again stresses the importance of peers.
So, what are those benefits? Those who have been peers suggest the benefits are wide, varied and sometimes personal.
You can read about the experiences of local government officers, elected members and others who have participated as peers in the LGA Corporate Peer Challenge Programme:
A call for peers
To deliver the corporate peer challenge programme we need your help. We need you to make available senior officers to participate as peers. Our need for specific peers changes. At the moment we particularly welcome expressions of interest from chief executives, and from directors or senior officers with current roles and/or experience of one or more of the following:
- commissioning and procurement
- economic growth
What do peers do?
Peer challenges are managed and delivered by the sector for the sector. Peers are at the heart of the peer challenge process. They provide a 'practitioner perspective' and 'critical friend' challenge. Working as a team, and supported by an experienced LGA peer challenge manager, peers spend time onsite at a council, fire and rescue service or organisation to help with it with its improvement and learning. Peers help build capacity, confidence and sustainability by challenging practice and sharing knowledge and experience. A role description summarises the officer peer role and responsibilities:
For further information about the peer challenge programme and role of peers, please contact:
Paul Clarke, Programme Manager