The LGA has launched the new sector support and improvement offer for councils.
Councils operate at the very heart of their communities.
From caring for the most vulnerable to driving economic growth, councils provide support to help people improve their lives and the leadership needed to make shared local priorities a reality. This has never been more important. Councils’ ability to meet the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic is possible because of the remarkable relationship they have with their communities.
The sector support offer, funded by the UK Government, is shaped by what councils tell us they need to respond to the opportunities and challenges they are facing.
The support offer has its basis in the sector-led improvement approach, which is underpinned by the following core principles:
- councils are responsible for their own performance and improvement
- councils are primarily accountable to local communities
- councils have a collective responsibility for the performance of the sector as a whole
- the role of the LGA is to maintain an overview of the performance of the sector and to provide tools and support.
In employing this approach, the offer extends across political and managerial leadership, and involves use of member and officer peers, to ensure robust, strategic and credible challenge and support.
The updated sector support offer is designed to support councils as they respond to issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial challenges, community engagement, public health, and other issues relating to economic recovery and renewal.
We also offer a range of programmes to help develop and enhance councils’ local leadership and workforce, and to engage with residents and transform services, involving access to learning and development opportunities and performance data.
We provide councils with further support to meet their statutory requirements and develop communities that are safer and more sustainable, including comprehensive climate change support.
There are four pillars to the support offer for 2021/22, covering the following programme areas:
- supporting council improvement using peer support
- supporting financial resilience and economic recovery of councils
- supporting council leadership, workforce and communications
- supporting safer and more sustainable communities.
Children’s services, adult social services and cyber security remain core issues for councils and the LGA continues to offer support through programmes funded by other government departments, alongside programmes including One Public Estate and the Planning Advisory Service.
We look forward to seeing more of you in person when social distancing measures ease and we are able to restart more elements of face to face support, including the corporate peer challenge programme. As councils are now focusing on the future, a peer challenge may provide a welcome opportunity to take stock and look ahead.
We will continue to make use of remote and blended support where you would welcome this. Councils can access and learn more about all the available support from our regionally based principal advisors and regional teams.
Changes in political leadership The LGA has updated and refreshed its advice and support to councillors and officers whose councils may be undergoing changes in political leadership following the local elections on 6 May. This support offer is flexible, tailored and free, involving access to experienced member and officer peers, support networks, practical tips and guidance, and shared learning opportunities. The support offer can include (but is not restricted to): • support through the leadership transition, post-election – both formal and informal • workshops and away days with top management and political teams, to support and help build relationships • support to clarify strategic priorities • mentoring for leaders, portfolio holders and chief executives • the sharing of learning, including access to closed webinars and good practice from councils that have experienced a change of political leadership and/or being in ‘no overall control’ • guidance to recognise when systems and relationships are not working and what to do next • mediation. Visit the LGA's changes in political leadership webpages to find out more.
Climate change Achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increasing biodiversity will remain core priorities of councils for the foreseeable future. Councils have already begun urgent action to implement steps toward green recovery from COVID-19, to combat the negative impacts of climate change and to deliver net zero carbon by 2050. The LGA’s climate change programme supports councils to respond more effectively to these challenges through a range of initiatives. These include: • the Net Zero Innovation programme, in collaboration with University College London, which brings together local authorities, universities and other stakeholders to address climate challenges at the local level • a free greenhouse gas accounting tool, developed with Local Partnerships (see next month’s first for more on this). • our Climate Change Hub, providing a single platform to access our climate change tools and support, including leadership training, webinars, podcasts, guidance, toolkits, and council case studies..
Equalities, diversity and inclusion Councils have a critical role to play in reducing inequalities and enhancing inclusion and cohesion within their communities, and recent consultation with the sector has highlighted that this remains a core priority. The LGA’s equalities, diversity and inclusion (EDI) hub brings together our range of support and resources on these issues, including: • equalities peer support, including peer challenges and an equality framework for local government and fire and rescue services • access to leadership programmes, which offer learning and development opportunities for councillors and officers • workforce support, including advice on EDI in the workplace • case studies, providing examples of good practice from councils across the country • community cohesion, inclusion and equality support, which includes a number of resources on this subject area. The hub supports councils’ ambitions relating to EDI and community cohesion, as well as helping them meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.Ensuring greater diversity, equality and inclusion within councils’ own organisations and communities is important for local government and provides a clear pathway for a more vibrant democracy, supporting better life outcomes and representation for all. Visit the LGA’s EDI hub. Contact your principal adviser to discuss bespoke EDI support for your council.