Council welcomes peer challenge report
Published 17th March 2022
Sandwell Council has welcomed constructive feedback and advice following a recent Local Government Association (LGA) peer challenge.
The peer challenge, which took place in January 2022, was led by a group of public sector experts and leaders drawing from their own experiences in other local authorities, both from a political and operational perspective.
The report notes that there is much to be excited about in Sandwell and there is huge potential to be unlocked. It recognises that whilst good and significant progress is being made, further improvements should be implemented to further embed the council’s positive work.
The review follows the Value for Money Governance Review carried out by the council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, which made a number of recommendations which have all been accepted. The council is completely focused on embedding the ‘green shoots’ of recent months and are developing a single consolidated improvement plan which brings together the recommendations from all recent external reviews. Work is well underway to deliver on the improvement plan and the council will report regularly on our progress.
The scope of the peer challenge’s review, which focused on the council’s performance, governance, relationships and financial resilience, gave the council an opportunity to discuss its strengths, as well as areas for improvement.
Council Leader Councillor Kerrie Carmichael reflected on the report’s findings, adding: “I welcome the peer team’s feedback. The reports into our history make tough reading, but it’s extremely encouraging that consecutive external reviews have now concluded that ‘green shoots’ of recovery are clearly visible.
“My vision for Sandwell is to be a borough that is totally focussed on the needs of our residents, where everyone can fulfil their potential and be proud to live here.
“Our residents want to live in clean and safe neighbourhoods, have somewhere to turn when times are tough, and to be proud to call Sandwell home. I am completely committed to providing that for them and am determined to build on the positive changes that we’ve been making in recent months.
“We know there is much for us still to do, but we have a clear plan to drive improvement. And, as the experienced local government peer review team have concluded, there are also many reasons to be hugely optimistic about Sandwell’s future.”
Kim Bromley-Derry, Interim Chief Executive of Sandwell Council, also welcomed the findings of the report, and said: “The findings of the Peer Challenge are important to us as a council because they help us to set the road map for our improvement journey.
“It’s important from time to time to have an external perspective – fresh eyes and critical friends can uncover different ways of working and opportunities that we can build on. This report demonstrates however that we are on the right track and have much to be optimistic about going forward.
“We will now go through the report in detail and have developed an Improvement Plan to take forward.”