Council praised for its 'can-do' culture
23 January 2015
Northumberland County Council has been praised for its commitment to deliver to the people of the county and the pride staff take in their work.
They were some of the findings following a four day ‘peer challenge’ visit from a team of senior staff and councillors from other local authorities, organised by the Local Government Association.
The team, who were invited in by the local authority, looked at the council’s future opportunities and challenges and also focused on its ability to drive economic growth.
A report being presented to councillors next week says the team were “impressed with the energy and enthusiasm to deliver for the people of Northumberland that they found with Members, staff and partners”.
Initial feedback from the team included:
• A strong and decisive political leadership
• Effective and empowering senior management
• Positive relationships with partners, particularly Town and Parish Councils and Health
• A strong financial position
There was also praise for the role of ARCH, the wholly owned but arms-length development company, which was described as ‘innovative and provides an excellent vehicle for delivering place-based economic development’.
The joint working with health and social care agencies was also found to be positive.
The report adds: “What shines out from the LGA’s feedback is the passion and pride in Northumberland that they found with Members, staff and partners and an energy and enthusiasm to deliver for the people of Northumberland.
“In their words, they found not only a ‘can do’ culture but a ‘want to do’ culture.”
Leader of Northumberland Council Grant Davey welcomed the findings of the peer challenge.
He said: “It’s reassuring to have this positive independent feedback on the direction our authority is travelling.
“These are challenging times for local councils but there are also numerous opportunities and we want to ensure we are in the best position to maximise these.
“The ‘want to do’ culture and pride in the county is something I see every day when talking to the workforce and our partners and I’m glad this was also recognised by the team.
“Their findings have been very useful and we’re already addressing those areas which need more work.”
The report contains a number of recommendations to help the County Council to continue to improve. These include business planning processes, communication and more active links across the local government sector.
A 13-point action plan will be discussed by the council’s Policy Board on February 10.