Norwich City Council, alongside the Local Government Association, has published a new report that shows that a peer-review of the council has come out with positive findings.
Senior local government peers were led by Cllr Darren Rodwell (Leader of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) and Michael Bracey (CEO of Milton Keynes City Council) as they undertook the review in January this year. In order to reach their conclusions, the peers met over 100 people related to the council, such as councillors, staff and partners whilst also consulting a wide range of background material.
The financial position of the council, as well as its wider approach to governance, has been praised with the review finding that the council invested well to ensure that governance is improved. The report stated that “the council is in a relatively strong financial position, with stronger financial metrics than many of its peers.”
Alongside the positive comments, the review also set out some key recommendations for further development in Norwich. These include:
- Accelerating and prioritising plans to strengthen community and tenant engagement to deliver on the stated commitment to put residents at the ‘heart of everything we do’.
- Strengthening place leadership by involving partners more formally in the delivery of the local 2040 vision and clearly identifying officers to be the strategic leads for key partnerships.
- Shifting focus and transformation resource to culture change – building on the work already started.
- Identifying further growth and invest to save opportunities needed to meet corporate priorities as part of 2024-25 budget planning.
Councillor Alan Waters, Leader of the Council, said:
“I’m delighted the team of influential local government peers has recognised the positive position the council is in. The review finds that our relationship with statutory partners is strong, with a clear shared vision, and that our financial position is being well managed, despite the significant challenges.
“We welcome and accept the recommendations of the review. We know there is much work to do and the review will provide a positive platform upon which the new political and officer leadership can build.
“There are challenges ahead for the council and the city but there are also big opportunities. The peer review gives us confidence that we are in a strong position to meet those challenges and realise those opportunities.”
Chief Executive, Stephen Evans, added:
“The positive outcome of the peer review is testament to all the hard work that councillors, colleagues and partners have put in over the past few years.
“The review provides some excellent feedback on our work, along with areas for further development. The council is improving across a range of areas and I’m sure the new political leadership and whoever takes over from me will continue to drive progress – but everyone will need to play their part.
“The peer team make reference to our fantastically committed councillors, staff and partners – I very much agree with them.”