Agenda item

LGA Peer Review Action Plan

Objective : What progress is being made on the implementation of the recommendations from the Peer Review ?


Gareth Edmundson, Chief Executive


The Chief Executive introduced the report on the peer challenge action plan reminding Members that this had not been an inspection, rather an invitation for peers to spend time at the council and make recommendations for improvement. A positive report had been received suggesting that the council was on the right track but a series of recommendations had been made. Good progress had been made in most areas. In terms of those recommendations rated amber, work was still ongoing on the scenarios within the councils targets but he highlighted that the achievement of some savings targets was subject to external factors. Savings targets identified were predicated around the transition of Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) housing services back to CBC.

Also rated amber was embedding CBC culture. In his view, this was a constant. Recognising that the HR team were currently focussing on the transition with CBH some resource had been engaged at culture. Bringing CBH back in house was a significant change with 200 staff set to join the existing 250 employees at CBC. He suggested that O&S may wish to consider this in the medium term in terms of how this had been implemented and reviewed.

This did not concern CBH adopting to CBC’s way of working but creating a new organisation with a new organisational culture.

 In terms of the general overview CBC had created capacity and now had the strength and commitment to progress the actions given.

Members welcomed the support network in place during the transition phase. It represented an exciting opportunity to enrich the culture and it was hoped this work could be reported to the Scrutiny Task Group CBH-CBC Transition.

In response to Member questions the following points were made :

  • The CEX was happy to update O&S on further progress later this year
  • The Peer Team would be back at CBC in March this year to consider progress against the delivery of the recommendations.
  • Following the COVID pandemic operational front facing staff who did not have the ability to work from home remained dedicated and continued to deliver for residents and businesses.
  • The pandemic put modern family pressures and commitments to the fore and a supportive employer now provides the flexibility for employees to work in a hybrid way. That said the value of personal interactions to engage and collaborate remained and more informal settings to encourage such engagement were being created to provide such opportunities as opposed to meeting in a traditional office setting. It was also recognised that new starters could often feel isolated at home so the focus was on enabling more face to face interactions in this respect.
  • Whilst Teams and similar platforms were effective and efficient from a carbon perspective, colleagues were trusted to know the meetings where it was important to collaborate in person. So all the benefits from online working were taken but face to face was retained when needed.
  • The organisation had an inclusive approach and responded to requests from staff with health conditions which prevented them coming into the office on a case by case basis in order to support them
  • The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy was due to be considered by scrutiny in February. The first meeting of the employee group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is taking place this week in order for staff to directly contribute to the development of the policy and action plan. O&S would have the opportunity to consider this at its meeting in February. Following this, the intention was to take out to wider consultation with community groups, including those harder to reach.


Members welcomed the update and looked forward to receiving a further update in due course.


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