Peer Review 2022
An independent report has praised the 'phenomenal physical and cultural change which has taken place at Breckland Council over the last two years', resulting in 'excellent' support for local people.
The assessment comes after a team of experienced councillors and staff from councils elsewhere in the country and officers from the Local Government Association visited Breckland Council for a week over the summer of 2022 to carry out the 'peer review'.
The apolitical review team was led by the shared Chief Executive of Bromsgrove and Redditch Councils and included the Conservative Council Leader from Sevenoaks Council in Kent and the Labour Council Leader from the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.
Among the findings, the team noted in their report that 'Breckland Council's covid pandemic response was excellent, ensuring communities were protected and supported during a significantly challenging and unprecedented time'. The review team spoke to a range of junior and senior staff from across the council and found that 'staff are proud to work for the community'.
Breckland Council requested the assessment to review its progress after undergoing significant changes recently. This includes ending a ten-year strategic partnership with a council in Lincolnshire in 2021, appointing a new Chief Executive and senior officer team, and changing its working practices and office environment to modernise the organisation and improve the quality of services provided.
The peer review team's report notes that 'one notable outcome has been a greater focus on Breckland whilst achieving increased management resilience' and that the council has 'created a work environment that encourages collaboration and working together to support the council's priorities'.
The report also stated that the council's 'current financial position is sound in the short-term' and praised Breckland Council's 'excellent commercial acumen to generate income to balance the budget'.
As part of the assessment, the review team were asked to make recommendations to help the council develop further.
A total of 10 recommendations were put forward, including suggestions to ensure all council staff and members were focused on hitting savings targets, an expansion of project management within the council to ensure the successful delivery of priorities, and a strengthening of the existing relationships among senior officers and politicians with local partners and businesses.
Following the report, Breckland Council has started work on an action plan with the peer review recommendations and feedback in mind. The peer review team will reassess the council's progress around six months after the initial visit.
Update: March 2023
Following the Peer Review assessment in 2022, a progress review took place in March 2023.
The progress review focussed on each of the recommendations from the Corporate Peer Challenge, under the following theme headings:
• Action Plan Feedback
• Inspiring Communities
• Summary Feedback & Reflections
The progress review was designed to provide space for the council's senior leadership to:
- Update peers on the early progress made and to receive feedback on this including how the action plan aligns to the CPC's recommendations.
- Consider peer's reflections on any new opportunities or challenges that may have arisen since the peer team were 'on-site' including any further support needs.
- Discuss any early impact or learning from the progress made to date.
Last updated: 23/03/2023 13:26:04