The Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Review report is published today after their visit to Derby earlier this year.

The LGA brought a team of top local government leaders and professionals to Derby as one of their series of visits across the country.

Over 200 councils have undergone an independent peer review since the voluntary scheme was introduced in 2011 to identify improvements.

The LGA Corporate Peer Challenge is a proven approach to improvement and provides an in-depth evaluation, shares learning and helps to identify areas to improve. During the four-day review the team met more than 160 people including council staff, councillors, external partners and stakeholders.

Some of the team’s key findings are:

  • There is clear commitment from Councillors and staff to the Council and to the city;
  • Overall effectiveness of children’s services was judged to be good by Ofsted in a recent ‘SIF’ inspection;
  • The Council can evidence a significant amount of achievement including Infinity Park, development of community-led support in adult services and creating new jobs;
  • Many examples of good partnership working including good working relationships with neighbouring authorities.

Some key recommendations from the report include:

  • Improve the Council’s corporate capacity to deal with current and future challenges;
  • Re-establish the Derby Plan as the single plan for Derby which incorporates the 2030 vision backed by shared resources to deliver it;
  • Strengthen our approach to community engagement building on initiatives such as COPs – Councillors and Citizens on Patrol;
  • Commit to a workforce development plan to embed behaviours and culture.

Recommendations from the LGA relating to our financial management, such as closing the 2015/16 and 2016/17 accounts have been completed, and a corporate improvement plan, discussed with the Councils’ Executive Scrutiny Board, is in place to address other issues, including behaviours and relationships between officers and elected members.

Councillor Ranjit Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council says of the report’s findings,

“We want to maximise the enormous potential, talent and pride in the city whilst continuing to make the most of the opportunities we have, working with stakeholders to bring our vision to life.

The report raises a number of historical issues which are predominantly operational.

I have tasked Councillor Baggy Shanker, Cabinet Member for Finance & Governance and Paul Robinson the Chief Executive both who have a proven track record of dealing with the challenges we have faced in the past, to deliver on the recommendations and to ensure improvements are made, so that we all work together to be the best we can be for the people of Derby.”

Paul Robinson, Chief Executive of Derby City Council says,

“This peer review has given us the opportunity to be challenged by a ‘critical friend’ and this is essential in our journey.  Many of the issues raised are historical and we have worked hard to put right the problems our external auditors and the LGA have identified.

I know that there is so much positive work taking place in Derby and it is great to see that this has been recognised along with the challenges that we face in the future.”

The report is available to read on the Derby City Council website.