Independent review praises district council
Released on 9 August 2018
Local government experts have praised the political and management leadership of South Staffordshire Council in a report, stating that it is “very impressive" and recognised the organisation as “an effective and well-functioning Council that cares for its people."
Earlier this year, the local authority invited the Local Government Association (LGA) to carry out a corporate peer challenge - a voluntary assessment to check how the Council is performing and test its future plans.
A small team of senior representatives from the LGA and other local authorities visited the Council in June and over the course of three days spoke to more than 100 people including a range of council staff, elected members and external partner organisations and stakeholders.
The feedback report from the LGA, published on the Council's website this week, also highlights that the Council's finances are in a “sound position" with the Council being “in a strong position to meet future challenges" and showing “strong evidence of ambition and innovation." In particular, the Peer Team recognised the robust approach to asset acquisition as an exemplar and delivering a positive contribution to the organisation's financial stability.
The Peer Team also praised South Staffordshire's excellent partnership working, highlighted in the Council's last corporate peer challenge back in 2014. The report found there was “obvious enhancement in this area with mature strategic partnerships remaining a critical part of the Council's approach" and it stated that the Peer Team “heard high praise from key partners of how the Council is an important, positive and recognised strategic partner" with partners valuing its commitment and having trust and confidence in the Council.
Councillor Brian Edwards MBE, Leader of South Staffordshire Council, said, “Feedback from the corporate peer challenge has been exceptional and I am very proud to be Leader of a Council with a wonderful team doing such a good job.
“Saving money, making money, doing things differently - none of this is new for us at South Staffordshire Council. It's fair to say, for this Council, the impact of the austerity measures were more of a catalyst to speed up our processes for innovation. Our approach has also enabled us to continue to provide value for money for our residents with us continuing to have the fourth lowest Council Tax for district councils in England."
Dave Heywood, Chief Executive of South Staffordshire Council, said, “This report recognises that South Staffordshire is a strong, well run council with great staff. At a time of on-going change and uncertainty across the public sector, these findings show that continued progress is being made across the Council and that our approach is making a real difference to the well-being of our residents. We also welcomed the feedback on recommendations of areas for the Council to focus on to continue to improve.
“A future area of focus for the Council is to engage more closely with businesses across the district and build on our understanding of their needs. The South Staffordshire Business Hub already provides a very good service but delivering a more focused business support offer will benefit the overall business community especially now as it prepares for Brexit."
Notes to editors
- The corporate peer challenge focused on areas including the Council's vision and priorities, effectiveness of leadership, relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders, governance, financial planning and viability, and capacity to deliver. In addition, the Peer Team reviewed recent changes made in the staffing structure, corporate capacity and financial resilience.
Please click here to see a copy of the report.
For more information about corporate peer challenges, please visit: www.local.gov.uk/our-support/peer-challenges
For further details contact
South Staffordshire District Council
Tel: 01902 696000