Peer challenge and remote peer support 

Our peer support offer is a cornerstone of the sector support programme, including two distinct, but related programmes: peer challenge and remote peer support. The flexibility of this offer ensures that councils maintain continual access to peer support throughout these challenging times.

For further details about any aspects of this support, please contact the principal adviser for your region.

Peer challenge

The peer challenge approach involves a team of experienced officers and members spending time with another council as ‘peers’ to provide challenge and share learning. Participating councils receive a comprehensive report and recommendations from the peer team and then identify their own action plan to respond.

Peer challenges are an established tool that supports councils to drive improvements and efficiency in specific areas, including finance, communications, health and wellbeing, equalities, housing, planning and more. Our complete range of peer challenges are outlined in further detail on this site and within the relevant sections of this offer summary.

A core element of the offer is the corporate peer challenge, which is an integral element in our peer challenge offer. This involves peer teams spending significant time within councils to identify and address issues and challenge progress across themes including local priorities and outcomes, organisational and place leadership, governance and culture, financial planning and management and capacity for improvement. Fully-funded corporate peer challenges are available to all councils. It is expected that all councils will complete a corporate peer challenge at least every five years.

Remote peer support

Our remote peer support offer was developed during the pandemic to provide councils with support and challenge to address COVID-19 related issues and broader challenges. This offer comprises:

  • Recovery and Renewal Panels, which involve an online workshop (‘panel’), facilitated by the LGA and supported by a chief executive and leader peer. These panels provide councils an opportunity to reflect on learning from their COVID-19 responses and consider plans for recovery and renewal. Panels are made up of a small group of officers and members, selected from the LGA's pool of experienced peers.
  • Bespoke Remote Peer Support, which offers a robust process for councils to focus on a specific issue or service area in greater depth. Participating councils receive independent challenge and support from a team of senior officer and member peers and 'remote onsite' activity takes place over a number of days, followed by detailed written feedback. This support is available across a range of areas, including governance, tourism, transformation, communications and more.
  • A Remote Corporate Health-Check, which provides councils with a clear framework to consider key components that typically feature as part of a corporate peer challenge (see above) – for instance, priority setting, place leadership, governance and capacity to deliver. A Remote Corporate Health-Check is led by officer and member peers and provides more time and space than a Recovery and Renewal Panel to consider key issues.