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Peer review praises 'inward looking' county's finances

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Derbyshire CC is “financially well placed” compared with other counties, a peer challenge has found.

A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) found Derbyshire had “managed its finances well and has relatively higher reserves. This provides significant opportunities to deliver ambitions and improve service delivery”.

It praised the ‘enterprising council’ programme, which is intended to reduce the cost of public services through innovations and efficiency.

But the report said this should be better communicated as “the council is viewed by staff and partners as traditional and inward looking”.

“The pace of change is slow and there is also a tendency to default to the council doing everything which is reflective of the current approach based on a universal services model across the county,” it added. 

Derbyshire’s strategic role was “not well understood”. It added: “Partners are unclear about whether the council wants a stronger leadership role at a time when they are looking to the council for stronger leadership of place”.

The review warned that despite its sound finances Derbyshire would face “many tough decisions” as it had to save £63.2m over the next five years.

Council leader Barry Lewis (Con) said: “The report concluded that we are on very solid foundations with a good approach to running the council. We are financially very stable with good working relationships and keen to innovate and continually modernise.

“Of course, there are areas where we need to improve – as the report highlights – and we welcome this feedback which reflects areas for improvement we had identified ourselves as part of ‘enterprising council’ approach.”

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