We had a Corporate Peer Review from Monday 20 October until Thursday 23 October 2014. The Local Government Association (LGA) has been offering a Peer Review programme, including Corporate Peer Review since 2011. Since the launch of peer challenge in 2011, the LGA has worked with nearly 200 councils. Peer reviews are managed and delivered by the sector for the sector and are improvement focused.
A Corporate Peer Review looks at Somerset County Council (SCC) as a whole – including five standard core themes and focusing on a number of other areas of particular relevance chosen by SCC.
The scope of the SCC Corporate Peer Review is:
1 Understanding the local context and priority setting
- Does the council understand its local context and has it established a clear set of priorities?
2 Financial planning and viability
- Does the council have a financial plan in place to ensure long term viability and is there evidence that it is being implemented successfully?
3 Political and managerial leadership
- Does the council have effective political and managerial leadership and is it a constructive partnership?
4 Governance and decision making
- Are effective governance and decision making arrangements in place to respond to key challenges and manage change, transformation and disinvestment?
5 Organisational capacity
- Are organisational capacity and resources focused in the right areas in order to deliver the agreed priorities?
1 Economic Growth and Prosperity
- Explore the Council’s plan and thinking for the future in relation to the economy particularly in relation to nuclear, connectivity and infrastructure and the key role the Local Enterprise Partnership plays
- Consider the effectiveness of the Council’s engagement with partners key to the future economic success of Somerset.
2 Commissioning and Delivery
Explore the approaches taken by the Council to achieve its ambitions and plans, including the diverse range of ‘delivery’ models.
Consider the implications of service delivery changes for the rest of the organisation (particularly in relation to support services)
Explore the learning that can be drawn out and shared with the wider sector.
SCC will prepare a Position Statement in advance of the Peer Review which will provide general contextual information about the County Council and summarise strengths and weaknesses. Background information about Somerset and the Council will also be sent to the Peer Team in advance.
A team of six peers, picked for their relevance to the scope, will visit SCC for four days and meet with internal staff and external partners to ask questions and gather information relevant to the scope.
Feedback will be received from the LGA within two to three months of the Peer Review and if appropriate improvement planning sessions with the LGA will be scheduled to take forward any feedback received.