Melton Borough Council

Corporate Peer Challenge findings are released 

Published Thursday, 15th February 2018

‘Melton Borough Council are ambitious and positive about the future’; was one of the key findings of an independent report published this week.  

The Corporate Peer Challenge report, which will be considered by Full Council on the 22nd of February, highlights areas of good practice and offers recommendations on how the Council can improve moving forward. 
Working through the Local Government Association (LGA), a team of peer representatives from different Councils spent three days at the Council; reviewing significant amounts of documentation and speaking to more than 60 officers, Councillors and stakeholders to capture their views. These have then been summarised in the report published today. 

Cllr Joe Orson, Leader of the Council said:
“As a relatively new Leader working with a new Chief Executive, we felt it was a good time to invite colleagues from across local government to undertake an independent Corporate Peer Challenge. The team acted as critical friends and their insights have helped validate the things we are doing well while helping us focus on areas to improve in the future.  
The positive enthusiasm and commitment from the staff at the Council is one of our greatest assets and this is clearly reflected in the report, however we recognise we need to prioritise and ensure we give our teams sufficient capacity so we can continue to deliver good customer focused services to the community. I look forward to working with members and officers over the coming months as we take our improvement plans forward.”
The team who visited the Council in December 2017, focused on five main areas including the Council’s understanding of the local place and priority setting, the leadership of place, financial planning and viability, organisational leadership and governance along with the capacity to deliver. 

In addition to this the Council requested the LGA to pay particular attention to five additional areas including how the Council is positioning Melton for growth, ensuring there is understanding and focus on customers, the approach to becoming more commercial, the quality of project delivery and the effectiveness of the Council’s governance arrangements. 

The team found that the recent new Leadership of the Council was well received and that partners and stakeholders are keen to work with the Council to maximise the potential for the area. The recent implementation of a new management structure was seen as a positive development giving greater focus to priority areas, increasing accountability and strengthening capacity in Communications, HR and Legal services. The development of a new performance framework to increase transparency, and initiation of a significant recruitment drive to re-build capacity in key areas were also seen as positive steps. The report identified  the Council has a good track record of budget management in an increasingly constrained environment, and the Peer Team acknowledged the view of external audit that proper arrangements are in place for the Council to deliver value for money. 
Crucially, the focus of a Peer Challenge is on supporting improvement in the local government sector and the emphasis of the report is where the council might concentrate its improvement activities outlining a number of recommendations for the Council to consider. These include encouraging the Council to maximise the collaboration opportunities in the area and review how it wants to utilise its resources to influence outcomes in the future. It advises the Council undertake a focussed prioritisation exercise to ensure priorities are clearer and effectively resourced and that this is carried out in the context of the financial challenge, which needs to be more widely understood. Finally the report highlights that to ensure confidence in delivery the Council should ensure there is greater stability and consistency in decision making. 

Edd de Coverly, Chief Executive at the Council said:
“I would like to thank the LGA and all the members of the Peer Team for coming to Melton.  It has been a positive and constructive experience and I am grateful for the insights they have shared. The report acknowledges our strengths and gives focus to our improvement efforts as we work to modernise and reshape how we work. Undoubtedly Local Government is facing an extremely challenging time and we will meet that challenge head on.  Pleasingly, we are already working on a number of the areas suggested and over the coming months members and officers will be working together to ensure our ambitions for Melton are focussed, clear and resourced, so we can  deliver.” 

The link to the full report is http://bit.ly/2GcFyFz

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For more information please contact:

Name:  Sarah-Jane O’Connor – HR and Communications Manager
Melton Borough Council
Telephone: 01664 502460

Email: soconnor@melton.gov.uk

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