Agenda item

Corporate Peer Challenge - Summary Report


The Cabinet considered the Summary Report prepared after the Corporate Peer Challenge Group’s follow-up visit (seven members of the original team) on 8 and 9 May 2013.  The Group had been invited back to Wirral to help the Council assess progress made since the Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge in October 2012.  The Peers had used their experience and knowledge of local government to reflect on the information presented to them by people they met, things they saw and material that they read.  The review team provided feedback as ‘critical friends’, not as assessors or inspectors.


Councillor Phil Davies informed that the report was a record of the review team’s key findings.  The team had noted that the Council had made impressive improvement.  It was playing a greater role in the Liverpool City Region, it was strengthening its corporate functions, its Corporate Plan set out its key priorities, it had made headway with its challenges, had improved the quality of its decision-making and was taking tough decisions.  The team had also noted that the Council had ambitious plans in respect of its Constituency Committees and transformational change and it saw the Council as a learning organisation.  The Council was learning from best practice it was aware of elsewhere in the country by engaging with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and others. 




(1)  the Cabinet notes the positive report from the Peer Challenge Team, i.e.:


·  there has been an impressive journey of improvement since the peer challenge in October 2012;

·  the Council has come a long way and should be pleased and proud with the substantial progress we have made;

·  there is a strong sense that the organisation is significantly more confident and decisive about the issues and challenges it faces and its ability to respond to them and there is external recognition of this from the Council’s partners and other stakeholders.

·  the Council is playing a greater role in the city region.

·  our corporate plan sets out clearly and concisely the priorities that the council is working to in the medium term;

·  significant headway has been made with the immediate financial challenges the authority has been facing;

·  key changes to the constitution are being implemented to strengthen governance, increase transparency and improve the quality of decision-making;

·  we are now able to take a more proactive look at the future;

·  there are ambitious plans and proposals emerging such as the Constituency Committees and thinking is evolving about the next phase of the Council’s transformation; and

·  we are learning and seeking challenge from others in the sector, including continued support from the Improvement Board, visits to other local authorities and external assistance from the LGA, Centre for Public Scrutiny, Local Partnerships and others.


(2)  the Cabinet further notes the key issues to take forward, i.e.:


·  continue emphasis on financial management;

·  progress thinking on the council of the future;

·  strengthen corporate functions;

·  continue to do things at pace, hold your nerve and be prepared to take the tougher decisions ahead; and

·  Use the opportunity that a new ‘top team’ presents to promote cultural change throughout the organisation.


(3)  the Cabinet agrees the following:


(a)  to formally thank the Peer Challenge Team for their extremely helpful report;


(b)  to request the Chief Executive to produce a report for a future meeting on the practical steps that will need to be taken to address the issues to take forward identified by the Peer Challenge Team; and


(c)  to re-affirm the importance of learning from good practice elsewhere and sharing our learning with others.

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