Cherwell District Council – ‘Local Government Association’s Corporate Peer Challenge Review’

Press release from Cherwell District Council on the recent LGA Peer Review – 

Peer review says councils are poised to exploit their good position

Careful financial management has put two councils in a position to make the most of future opportunities, according to an independent peer review of Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council.

During a full council meeting last week Cherwell members considered the final feedback report from the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Corporate Peer Challenge.

The executive summary said both councils are well placed to face the challenges ahead and added: “They are both currently in a strong financial position with few debts and significant reserves that have been achieved through careful management.”

The report also said there is a good range of skills and experience within the body of elected members and that staff were motivated, engaged and had maintained high morale during a time of organisational change.

Cherwell leader, Cllr Barry Wood, said: “We are at the centre of the largest self-build project in the country with Graven Hill and are in the process of planning an exciting new future for Banbury’s main shopping centre – Castle Quay.

“In terms of the wider region, we are one of the local authorities shaping the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, and have one of the highest rates of housing delivery and employment in England.

“In addition, we have achieved this change whilst maintaining; balanced books, staff morale, our reputation among residents, and the goodwill of our stakeholders.”

Seven people, a mixture of chief executives, leaders, directors and managers from councils across the UK spent 260 hours undertaking the review of both districts, the equivalent of one person working for seven weeks. During 65 meetings and interviews they spoke to 200 people including councillors, stakeholders and council staff in order to carry out the review.

Recommendations from the review included; developing the councils’ approach to creating public spaces, making the most of both districts’ position in the Oxford-Milton Keynes- Cambridge corridor, identifying fewer but clearer priorities, and to better communicating corporate priorities internally.

The review also recommended both councils addressed capacity issues, identified additional resources to support the delivery of major programmes and projects, and be prepared to spend money in order to deliver a commercial agenda which includes investment in assets and property.

To read the full LGA Peer Review Challenge final report, please use the following link – http://modgov.cherwell.gov.uk/documents/s37441/Appendix%201.pdf