Michael Burton 09 July 2020

Council peer reviews go virtual

Council peer reviews go virtual image

Peer support for councils is going virtual to help them deal with recovery and renewal as they emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

The Local Government Association’s Sector-led Improvement (SLI) programme, which last year delivered 129 in-house peer reviews, is now offering remote support through its recovery and renewal panel.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board, said: ‘Our new recovery and renewal panel and remote peer support offer will build on our well-established improvement support programme, which has been helping councils for nearly a decade. Much of our activity has been refocused on providing support for councils in dealing with the pandemic and we are now helping them as we move to the next phase of our response.’

A review into SLI, its first since 2015, is set to report this summer and follows the publication of the annual report on July 10 which showed it delivered 129 peer challenges using 784 officers and councillors and enrolled almost 1,000 councillors on leadership programmes. Of those peer challenges, 60 were corporate and 22 involved councils using them for the first time.

The improvement programme was set up in 2011 following the abolition of the Audit Commission and relies on the principle of the sector helping itself through peer support. Last year it saved councils £38.5m through advice on productivity savings and income generation advice.

In an interview with The MJ Cllr Peter Fleming, chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board: ‘The Government wants us to put SLI into recovery work.

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