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LGA's crack squadron of politicians

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A crack squadron of local politicians to assist in the most challenging improvement work is to be assembled by the Local Government Association.

According to a report on the future of peer working drafted by the Improvement & Development Agency, an elite group of no more than 50 “political consultant peers” will be created to tackle “high-risk and complex” tasks.

And, as part of the LGA’s group development strategy, which will see the IDeA brought in-house, the association’s political group offices will play a key role in talent spotting and recruiting politicians. Currently, the IDeA hosts the ‘peer clearing house’ which recruits and accredits peer workers, who are paid£300 a day.

The proposals, which will be sent out for consultation at the end of September, will also see the peers given a hefty pay hike to reflect their expertise in consultancy and mediation.

According to the report, “there is a need for a cadre of political peers who are both highly skilled... and have a high profile to work on assignments which are complex and pose risks”.

Peers typically senior councillors or officers have played a crucial role in improving local government performance, through peer reviews, individual mentoring, corporate and service challenges for councils facing difficulties.

Chris Hume, the IDeA’s head of leadership and talent, said the new consultant peers were necessary to meet the challenges of preparing for the comprehensive area assessment and increased partnership working. “We will need to be more discerning,” he admitted. “If people have wanted to offer themselves as peers we would accredit them.”

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