Evaluation of sector-led improvement

Sector-led improvement (SLI) works and is a success story for the sector.

The approach to sector-led improvement (SLI) and the support “offer” has changed and developed since 2011.

Building on a first phase of evaluation which took place between 2012 and 2014, we are now in the process of conducting a second phase of evaluation in two parts:

  • an overall evaluation of the progress of the SLI approach since phase one
  • evaluation of individual elements of the LGA’s support offer to the sector.

This evaluation is running over 2016 – 2020 and we have brought together the findings so far, at the half way stage:

Download the phase two interim report

Further work is underway and we envisage publishing a final report in 2020.

The high level findings of this second phase of research to date confirm and reinforce the findings from the first phase evaluation. They demonstrate that:

  • Residents remain satisfied with and continue to trust their local council, despite the increasing financial constraints being faced by the sector. Our June 2018 public opinion polling demonstrated that 61 per cent of residents were very or fairly satisfied with the way their local council runs things. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) said they trusted their local council most when making decisions about how services are provided in their local area compared to 17 per cent most trusting the government. 
  • Councils are continuing to improve performance. Our May 2018 research report demonstrates that nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of a basket of performance indicators commonly used by the sector have improved since 2009/10. 
  • Councils value the support the LGA is making available and it has been helpful to their improvement journey. Ninety six per cent of leaders and 95 per cent of chief executives responding to the LGA perceptions survey 2017 said support from the LGA has had a positive impact on their authority. Since 2012 there has been a 19 percentage point increase in the proportion of all respondents saying that SLI is the right approach.

This is a considerable achievement for the sector against a backdrop of councils nationally having their funding cut by 49 per cent in real terms between 2010/11 and 2017/18 at the same time as increased demographic pressures and national policy changes.

The sector’s commitment to the approach is further evidenced by take up of the support offer and the contribution of peer days. All councils engaged with one or more aspects of the offer in 2017/18 and since 2011 councils have contributed more than 17,000 days of senior councillor and officer time to peer challenges, representing a considerable investment by the sector in its own improvement.

Supporting documents

A full list of the research drawn upon in the phase two interim evaluation report can be found below: