Sector led improvement has real momentum. Councils are adopting the approach and taking up our offer of challenge and support to inform and drive improvement, and share practice and learning.
At the heart of our sector led improvement offer is the opportunity for a corporate peer challenge, a process that more than two thirds of councils have commissioned. Feedback from two independent evaluations (2014 and 2017) indicate that councils find it a valuable process.
They provide examples of impact and demonstrate that peer challenge is a proven tool for improvement. Councils are using the corporate peer challenge in a variety of ways, tailoring it to their needs. This flexibility continues to be an attractive feature of the peer challenge process for councils.
The following case studies from some of the early corporate peer challenges provide examples of how councils used the process in different ways and the benefits they derived from this external perspective.
Most recent case studies
Reality checking the medium term financial strategy: Wyre Forest District Council
This second peer challenge for Wyre Forest District Council, five years after the first, focused on the medium term financial strategy. Having already achieved notable efficiencies and savings, the council was proposing a strategy predicated more on investment and growth and new models of service delivery. The council welcomed critical friend challenge from peers to test the realism and robustness of the strategy proposed.
Supporting organisational development: Worcestershire County Council
Part of preparing for the peer challenge process is the development of a self-assessment position statement. This helped the Council to take stock of progress to date, its recent successes and setting out its thinking about the future development of the organisation. Feedback from peers helped build confidence and ability to deliver ambitions and priorities.
Publishing the feedback report was also very important for the Council, demonstrating its commitment to being transparent, open, and honest with Worcestershire people, and its partners about the challenges it faces and how it is planning to address issues in the future.
More case studies can be found on the case study page including:
- A flexible and relaxed approach: Barnsley Council
- A foundation for our strategic review: Malvern Hills District Council
- A pragmatic and relevant challenge: Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
- An independent view: Durham County Council
- Enhancing our performance: London Borough of Sutton
- External verification and much more: Norwich City Council
- Open and transparent: Nottingham County Council
- See ourselves as others see us: Scarborough Borough Council
- Tangible improvements and greater confidence: Swale Borough Council