Peer Review 2018


The Local Government Association (LGA) undertook a peer challenge review of the council in November 2018. The review took place between 13 and 16 November.  

The peer review explored five core components that all LGA corporate peer challenges cover:

  1. Understanding of the local place and priority setting: does the council understand its local context and place and use that to inform a clear vision and set of priorities?
  2. Leadership of Place: does the council provide effective leadership of place through its elected members, officers and constructive relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders?
  3. Financial planning and viability: does the council have a financial plan in place to ensure long term viability and is there evidence that it is being implemented successfully? 
  4. Organisational leadership and governance: is there effective political and managerial leadership supported by good governance and decision-making arrangements that respond to key challenges and enable change and transformation to be implemented?
  5. Capacity to deliver: is organisational capacity aligned with priorities and does the council influence, enable and leverage external capacity to focus on agreed outcomes?

In addition, there was an extended focus on three specific areas:

  1. Review how the authority is positioned to deliver the aspirations and ambitions contained within the Cheltenham vision in the context of the emerging thinking on Gloucestershire 2050, and whether the authority and its partners have sufficient capacity to achieve delivery of the ambitions.
  2. Review the council’s broad range of external delivery mechanisms, including the council’s commissioning, contracting and other partnering approaches and various company arrangements, to see how effectively they are delivering the outcomes the council requires from them.
  3. Consider the council’s modernisation programme and to reflect on how well it is being articulated, organised and driven across the organisation. 

The Peer Challenge Team's report and CBC draft action plan

The team spent 4 days on-site and spoke to more than 100 people including a range of council staff together with councillors and external stakeholders. The team gathered information and views from more than 50 meetings, focus groups and phone calls, plus additional research and reading. They collectively spent more than 260 hours to determine their findings – the equivalent of one person spending nearly 7 weeks in CBC.

Download the Peer Challenge Report

Download the feedback presentation summarising their findings.

Download the updated draft action plan setting out how the Council will respond to the recommendations identified by the Peer Challenge Team

The Peer Challenge Team

Penny James, Chief Executive of Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset District councils
Cllr. Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council
Cllr. Sarah Butikofer, LGA regional peer, Group Leader at North Norfolk District Council and a member of Norfolk County Council. 
Suzanne Hemingway, Strategic Director at Cambridge City Council
Bill Cotton, Executive Director, Environment and Economy at Bournemouth Borough Council
Vic Allison, Deputy Managing Director at Wychavon District Council
Matthew Hamilton, Director of the District Councils’ Network
Andrew Winfield, LGA peer challenge manager.

Position statement

In preparation for the peer challenge, CBC prepared a position statement that provided background information about both Chetenham and Cheltenham Borough Council and set the contect for the peer challenge team.

Other key documents to support the peer challenge

Corporate Plan 2018-19

Medium Term Financial Strategy / Commercial Strategy

Statement of accounts

Annual Governance Statement

Organisation structure chart 

Decision-making arrangements

Annual audit letter

Preparation Guidance