Council praised for improvements following peer review of governance
A team of industry experts has praised South Ribble Borough Council for its action in improving its governance and delivering effective services throughout the pandemic.
The peer review, organised by the Local Government Association (LGA), was impressed by how the authority was taking steps to improve and was now on with delivering an ambitious programme of work for its community.
It comes on the back of the administration that has been in place since May 2019 and the senior management team that is looking to deliver major investments such as the Town Deal, while ensuring the voice of the community is heard through a series of hubs that will ensure local people have a say on what happens in their neighbourhood.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: "The peer review is a really important way for us to get an outside perspective on what we're doing from people who know how local government works.
"A huge amount of work has been done over the last couple of years to get over the problems this organisation has had in the past and this review shows we're well on the way to putting that right.
"I'm particularly pleased that the great work of the council in supporting residents and businesses has been highlighted as our response to the pandemic has helped people of all ages through one of the most challenging times we have ever faced.
"What it tells us is that South Ribble is well on its way to becoming a top local authority in how it delivers for local people and we've got to maintain that progress over a sustained period to demonstrate the measures we have put in place to solve the problems of the past are working."
The peer review, which took place over the summer, considered a number of factors including:
- Understanding of the local context and priority setting
- Financial planning and viability
- Political and managerial leadership
- Governance and decision making
- Organisational capacity
The team spoke to dozens of people both within and outside of the council to get a full picture as to how the authority was doing.
Among a series of recommendations the team highlighted the need to continue with the good work on correcting governance issues, have a clear plan on how the major investments will work together, and continue to use the 'bottom up' approach that is working well in encouraging the involvement of local people in decision-making.
"The report reflects on the fact we've made a huge amount of progress in a short space of time and we've got to consolidate that and continue to have both short-term goals and a longer-term plan that are clearly communicated both within the council and to our residents," added Councillor Foster.
"I'm pleased that the work of everyone in both the council and the community has been recognised and I agree that we are at our best when we all work together in tandem.
"The next few years is going to be a really exciting time in South Ribble with lots of new developments and investment in what residents have told us matters to them.
"We look forward to taking the comments of the peer review team on board and it will help us in our aim of providing the very best of services to our residents."
The full report can be viewed here.