Sector-led improvement has now been around a couple of years and things are taking shape.
More from: A question of engagement
Although a recent survey of stakeholders and council officers uncovered some concerns and some ignorance about what the process involves, sector-led improvement is gaining supporters. More councils are signing up to the various aspects on offer - from a ‘peer challenge’ visit from colleagues in other councils to online forums where officers can share best practice on communicating with residents through Facebook.
In the following agenda pages chief executives and officers right at the heart of sector-led improvement explain what it is and how it will benefit local government. One chief who has twice been through the peer challenge process explains how the exercise is as useful for highly performing councils as it is for those who may be running into trouble. Another chief, who has been a peer challenger rather than a challengee, explains how he and his council benefit from a week out of the office making an in-depth examination of the work of another council.
The system is not perfect and there remain concerns and criticisms about aspects such as its voluntary nature and how long some elements have taken to get up and running, as the LGA’s recent baseline perceptions audit showed.
But the association is working hard to reassure stakeholders that this can be a success and it will be very interesting to find out whether people’s views have changed when the next instalment of the perceptions audit is published later this year.
Ruth Keeling, chief reporter