Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge
The Council invited the Local Government Association (LGA) to undertake the challenge as part of its ongoing commitment to improving services for residents.
The report highlights the Council’s race equality work, as well as its strong political and executive leadership. It states the Council is on a “rapid transformation journey” that it is focused on delivering for Lewisham residents.
It also praises the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and cites the way it worked with partners and communities to support the borough during this challenging time as something to build on in the future.
The report goes on to make a number of recommendations, including around partnership working, budget approaches for the Council’s largest services, sharing practices and increasing the Council’s profile in regional and national debate.
The challenge involved a team of local government officers and councillors from other local authorities spending time at Lewisham Council, meeting with and talking to staff, councillors, partners and residents to get a sense of how the Council is performing, and to provide challenge, learning and advice.
The Council asked the challenge team to focus on:
Local priorities and outcomes
Organisational and place leadership
Governance and culture
Financial planning and management
Capacity for improvement
How the Council is leading and embedding a shift in workforce culture, engaging and motivating staff across the organisation to deliver corporate priorities at pace.
Following the report, the Council is developing an action plan to address the recommendations, and the review team will revisit Lewisham later this year to assess the Council’s progress against those actions.
Kim Wright, Chief Executive of Lewisham Council, said: “I would like to thank the team from the LGA for their time and support; the peer challenge was a very positive experience. We welcome their findings and recommendations, which have given us an important steer as we plan for the future and continue our transformation journey.
“I was pleased to see that the progress made in recent years has been acknowledged, as well as the brilliant work of colleagues who continue to work hard for the people of Lewisham, often in very challenging circumstances. The timing of the report is incredibly useful, coming at the start of a new administration and as we finalise our next four-year corporate strategy.”
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “I’m grateful for the fantastic work the LGA team have done. The peer challenge is a chance of have our progress assessed by our peers, and to benefit from an external view of where our focus should be as we plan for the future.
“I’m pleased they recognised the incredible work Council staff did with local partners and community organisations in response to COVID-19, which really summed up the community spirit our borough prides itself on. The pandemic shone a light on the importance of local government and communities, and these observations and recommendations will be incredibly helpful as we take the best of what we have learned to continue to do everything we can to improve local peoples’ lives.”