Independent review states Wiltshire Council's members and officers are "committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for residents"
The Local Government Association has provided the council with positive feedback following a recent review
"Wiltshire Council is clearly, and proudly, a values-led organisation with senior members and officers committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for residents." - this is just some of the feedback Wiltshire Council has received from a recent independent review.
In November 2022, Wiltshire Council invited the Local Government Association to carry out a Corporate Peer Challenge, which offers local authorities an in-depth look at their service and provides a critical friend's view of both strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Peer challenges are delivered by experienced elected members and officer peers. During their visit to Wiltshire Council the peer review team engaged with nearly 180 councillors, officers, and partners across three days of interviews, and collectively spent more than 200 hours to arrive at their findings, which is the equivalent of one person spending five weeks with Wiltshire Council.
Some of the other positive feedback received, includes:
- The council's Business Plan developed by the Cabinet provides a clear set of objectives for the council and provides organisational focus.
- The focus on improving outcomes for some of the most vulnerable in the community is none more evident than in children's services.
- A collaborative, open and transparent organisational culture has developed under the stewardship of the current Chief Executive
- There are examples of where the council works well to deliver improved community outcomes, such as the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub.
- Wiltshire Council is a valued partner and is working well in specific projects, such as working with UK Health Security Agency and Ministry of Defence at Porton Down.
- Constructive challenge and discourse are genuinely welcomed between senior officers and members with the shared commitment to securing the best possible outcomes for residents.
- The council is excelling in work to address climate change - "The council's work to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change is impressive, with many activities that would be considered exceptional in other organisations being seen very much as the 'day job'"
- A truly positive organisational culture pervades all levels of the council.
- Scrutiny at Wiltshire Council is well resourced, and members feel they are able to challenge and influence the policy agenda.
- The council has impressive and strong internal governance
- Staff at Wiltshire Council are motivated, energetic, and committed.
A series of recommendations have also been provided to the council, including reviewing the role and function of Area Boards so that they add maximum value; creating a county-wide strategic partnership board to oversee the economic strategy for Wiltshire; and ensuring opportunities are maximised to involve the voluntary community sector (and other partners) in developing strategies and policies.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:
"It was an incredibly useful and worthwhile exercise to invite the Local Government Association to see how we work at Wiltshire Council. I'm delighted with the feedback we've received as it's reflective of where I think we are as an organisation - focused on achieving the very best possible outcomes for our residents.
"I was particularly pleased to see children's services and climate change, two vital areas we've worked really hard on, highlighted for the progress we've made.
"I'm a big advocate for our Business Plan, as it underpins everything we do as an organisation, so it's positive that it too was also recognised for the focus it provides our work and how we've embedded it.
"We've been provided some really useful recommendations, some of which we've already made progress on, and this sort of constructive feedback will help up us continue to develop, all to the benefit of the communities we serve."
The full report has been published and can be found at Local Government Association Wiltshire Council peer review report
Wiltshire Council's 10-year Business Plan is available to read at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/council-democracy-business-plan.