LGA programmes continue to deliver value and impact for councils.
As we come to the end of the various LGA board terms, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the work of the Improvement and Innovation Board over the last 12 months – and what a year it’s been!
We have provided more support to more councils than ever before. We have delivered innovative programmes, from climate change to economic growth and financial resilience, giving councils countless opportunities to learn from one another, improve their practice and, ultimately, deliver better services to their residents.
The launch of the ‘Supporting council improvement – annual report 2021/22’ marks another successful year for our sector support offer.
We developed the offer as a direct response to what councils have told us they need to ensure they are equipped to address a wide range of challenges and opportunities.
In the report, we capture stories of success across different programme areas, giving you a glimpse into the wide-ranging nature of this support and, most importantly, the broader impact and value this brings to councils.
For instance, our expert regional teams and peers worked tirelessly to address the thorniest issues and broker a range of improvement support tailored to individual councils’ needs. Targeted and bespoke support, such as mentoring and top-team development, helped councils address unique challenges, including during the post-election period.
Our remote peer support and peer challenges – across areas including governance, finance, communications, equalities, and more – helped councils understand where they can go further on their improvement journeys.
We were also thrilled to be able to restart our highly valued Corporate Peer Challenge programme. Comments from councils featured in the report underpin the value of this support, with 100 per cent of authorities saying corporate peer challenges had a positive impact.
“Thousands of councillors benefited from LGA support”
We have continued to provide learning and development opportunities to officers and councillors across the country. More than 2,000 councillors have benefited from the LGA’s leadership programmes and training, such as Leadership Academy, Leadership Essentials and Next Generation.
We also supported councils in building capacity and capability through our flagship National Graduate Development Programme and our workforce programme.
This has helped councils address recruitment and retention issues, improve their take-up of apprenticeships, and provide targeted support to places facing enhanced challenges.
Finally, the report highlights the LGA’s offer to improve councils’ approach to the most significant problems impacting the sector.
For example, the Climate Change programme enabled more councils to work towards their targets of lowering local carbon emissions and achieving adaptation, with 98.5 per cent of councils directly engaging with the programme in 2021/22.
Similarly, of the councils that participated in the Housing Advisors programme, 97 per cent said it made a lasting positive impact on their capacity to deliver housing and homelessness services, rough sleeping provision, and place-making.
There is more to share on the impact of our sector support programme, so I would encourage all councils to read the annual report to find out more about how the LGA has helped councils to improve and deliver for communities.
It is a fantastic resource to demonstrate the opportunities for you to improve your approach.
Seeing councils using our support to improve their service delivery, and offer better outcomes for residents, illustrates the value of our sector support programme and the impact it can have.