Councillors and committees

Agenda item

LGA Corporate Peer Review [Finance and Contracts Committee - 4 April 2019]

To consider the report with recommendations at Appendix B of the agenda pack.

Minutes:

The Council considered a report at Appendix B of its agenda pack which incorporated a report to and recommendations from the Finance and Contracts Committee meeting on 4 April 2019 relating to the LGA Peer Review of the Council.

 

At the Council’s request, the Local Government Association (LGA) had conducted a Corporate Peer Review of the organisation during January 2019 in order to support the Council’s transformation and improvement - and so that the Council could learn from best practice.  LGA Corporate Peer Reviews are based around a standard framework comprising the following themes: our understanding of the local place and priority setting; leadership of place; financial planning and viability; organisational leadership and governance; and capacity to deliver.  In addition to these standard themes, the Council asked for the review to look deeper at the financial planning and viability element and to consider the Council’s ambitions in relation to improving community engagement.

 

The Peer Review final report and recommendations which had been published on the Council’s website on 14 March 2019 were incorporated in the report to the Council.

 

Overwhelmingly, the Review Team were struck by the potential and opportunity that exists for the Council, both as an organisation and as a leader of place:  The Council has much to call upon to drive things forward, including a committed and talented workforce, a passionate elected membership and the goodwill of partners.  The prospect of harnessing all of this and uniting it behind fulfilling the potential and the opportunity means that these are very exciting times for Kingston’.  The key recommendations of the Review report were summarised as follows:

 

the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames should:

·         capitalise upon the opportunity as an organisation and a leader of place, involving establishing a clear vision and sense of purpose.

·         seize the place leadership through building relationships with partners.

·         establish a single, shared understanding about the scale of the financial challenges being faced and mechanisms that provide real grip and rigour around the delivery of savings and budget spend.

·         bring about greatly improved communication across the Council.

·         establish greater collective leadership of corporate and strategic issues.

·         determine what community engagement means in Kingston and the approaches to be adopted.

·         continue the review of the council’s Constitution and governance arrangements.

·         conclude the organisational restructure in as timely a fashion as possible.

·         prioritise/sequence the corporate system and process changes that the Council recognises are needed and then inject pace and rigour at each stage.

 

The Finance and Contracts Committee had resolved that authority be delegated to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to develop a Council action plan to respond to the recommendations of the Peer Review.  This Action Plan was attached as Annex 2 to the report to Council.   The Action Plan expands on the initial response of the Strategic Leadership Team, listing the activity that is underway or will be undertaken to take on board the recommendations of the Peer Review.  Each activity has a senior leadership owner, a target date for completion and a status update.  The activity set out has been compiled by senior officers and is either listed as a deliverable in the Corporate Plan and/or will be embedded in directorate service plans.  Progress will be monitored through those plans and the LGA Peer Review Team will be invited back to look at how the Council has made progress with the areas of improvement identified in 12 - 18 months’ time.

 

The Leader moved, Councillor Dave Ryder-Mills seconded and it was resolved that the Action Plan at Annex 2 to the report responding to the LGA Peer Review be approved, subject to any additions by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader of the Council in response to any comments submitted by Councillors to them during the week following the Council meeting.

 

Voting – unanimous

Supporting documents: