Corporate Peer Challenge 2013

Stevenage Borough Council invited the Local Government Association to carry out a corporate peer challenge of the council during October 2013.

Stevenage Borough Council’s leaders want the council to be an organisation that can meet the demands of local residents and businesses in a world of diminishing government funding support. This means we need to change the way we work with our communities. We have already started to develop plans for this, and we asked the peer team to help shape and develop them.

The council asked for the peer challenge to focus on the following:

  • Our plans for improving the relationships and engagement with citizens, organisations and businesses through the development of our Co-operative Council principles
  • To challenge and advise on the council’s approach to priority-based budgeting and future plans for financial and organisational resources
  • To assess and contribute to the development of the council’s transformation programme, looking at how the council is building capacity to deliver future priorities

In addition, all corporate peer challenges cover the following:

  • Understanding of local context and priority setting
  • Financial planning and viability
  • Political and managerial leadership
  • Governance and decision-making
  • Organisational capacity

The peer team who visited Stevenage Borough Council were:

David Marchant - Chief Executive, Castle Point Borough Council
Cllr Caitlin Bisknell - Leader, High Peak Borough Council
Andrew Seekings - Corporate Director (Resources), Allerdale Borough Council
Dave Burn - Head of Democratic Services and Scrutiny, London Borough of Lambeth
Liz Stevens - Business Manager for Adult Social Care, London Borough of Enfield
Gary Hughes - Programme Manager, LGA

During the challenge the peer team reviewed key council plans, policies, performance data and customer feedback. They carried out a series of interviews and focus groups with a range of councillors, partners and staff over three days to obtain information and actively challenge and question the council on its performance and future plans.