Peer Review marks progress of Council

The findings from a Peer Review of South Somerset District Council (SSDC) from the Local Government Association (LGA) have now been released and are to be considered by District Executive at their meeting on Thursday 6 July 2017.

Peer reviews are provided by the LGA at no cost as part of the local government improvement programme. SSDC asked for the review, which took place in March 2017. The process is designed to be challenging, forward-looking and problem-solving. It is not a form of inspection and does not rank or score the council.

A review team, consisting of Officers and Members from across the local government sector, spent four days in South Somerset meeting staff, councillors, and partner organisations including community groups, businesses, neighbouring and parish councils and other public sector bodies.

The review recognised the challenges the Council has faced in recent years and the progress it was making in meeting these challenges. The review also highlighted the strengths of the Council, including that it is close to its communities; works well with others to make things happen on the ground; and has had prudent financial management for many years, helping it meet the financial challenges.

The report also recognises the Council's commitment to being a modern and efficient organisation that continues to deliver good services and be ambitious for itself and the communities that it serves, but that it faces a challenging programme of change and transformation to enable this.

South Somerset District Council has drafted an action plan to address the recommendations of the report which will be considered alongside the Peer Review findings by the District Executive on 6 July 2017.

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council said, "The Council has been through challenging times recently and is now emerging from these and looking forward. There is consensus across the Council that we will be bold and ambitious for our residents and communities and not be a council that cuts back what we do. To achieve this we need to be a very different organisation in the future. I welcome the Peer Review findings which will help us to make the changes we need to make so we can serve the people of South Somerset well in to the future."

Alex Parmley, Chief Executive of South Somerset, said, "The Peer Review establishes a clear baseline for us to lead changes across the Council so that we can serve people even better in what is a challenging environment for all councils.

We welcome the report and the many strengths it highlights including the commitment and support of Members and staff to where we are going and the passion that already exists for offering good customer service and doing our best for South Somerset. The report will help us to provide better services for residents with less resources and be a modern organisation focussed on how we deliver for our customers and communities."

To view a copy of the feedback from the Peer Review, the report to District Executive and the action plan based on the feedback, visit http://modgov.southsomerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=1976&Ver=4.