Agenda item

LGA Corporate Peer Challenge - Action Plan

Report of the Chief Executive



Cllr Clewer, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for MCI, Economic Development, Heritage, Arts, Tourism and Health & Wellbeing, presented a report detailing a draft Action Plan that had been developed reflecting the feedback and recommendations following Full Council’s receipt of the final report from the highly successful Corporate Peer Challenge in November 2022.


The Leader noted that a lot of the elements included within the Action Plan had been expected and that there was now the task of assessing the proposals to suggest solutions and ways forward, an example of the Local Plan was cited and making sure that this addressed the needs of Wiltshire holistically. Place Boards were also referenced as working well within Salisbury, Chippenham, and Melksham. The Leader stated that a challenging recommendation would be for Wiltshire Council to speak positively about itself on a national level, with the Leader having already spoken last week at the UK100. It was suggested that other areas highlighted within the recommendations might take more time, with the Council waiting for up-to-date evidence from the latest Census to address local deprivation through the work of Area Boards. The Leader stated that much of the work was already in process and would be presented to the LGA in 12 months’ time during a follow up visit to see how progress was being made.


Cllr Nick Botterill stated that he was a big supporter of the content of the Peer Challenge and that there was the potential for further value to be added through the Action Plan and that the recommendations needed to be built into the Council’s plans.


Cllr Graham Wright, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee noted that the Leader had attended the most recent Committee meeting and had articulated the Action Plan well. The only issue identified by the Committee was that it should be in plainer English to enable more people to understand it. Additionally, Cllr Wright acknowledged the positive feedback attributed to Overview and Scrutiny.


Cllr Ian Thorn congratulated those involved with the Peer Challenge. Cllr Thorn referred to the Local Plan, which the panel had seen as a significant and a pivotal vehicle for the Council’s visions for delivery, with clarity sought on how this would happen in practice with there being legal constraints. Another area identified by Cllr Thorn was whether Area Boards could have a transformation opportunity in relation to partnerships and providing a central role for key partners to deliver outcomes.


In relation to Area Boards, the Leader noted that all large unitary Councils had been created at the same time and therefore none had had the chance to refresh this area. Additionally, that each Area Board varies and should be given its own ability to progress with each area having different issues.


Cllr Nick Botterill, stated regarding local planning, that policies were the tools that could be used to embed a strategy and that not much could be done on site selection, but a lot of work could take place on policy development. Additionally, Cllr Clewer stated that Members would be involved as soon as possible in relation to policies, however site selection would have to be handled through a formal consultation process.


Cllr Ian Thorn questioned whether the document could be used strategically to help deliver health infrastructure, with it noted that one of the biggest challenges in development is the lack of dentists and healthcare. Cllr Thorn suggested that the Local Plan could be a pivotal strategic document in addressing health inequalities that come with major developments. Additionally, regarding Area Boards, Cllr Thorn noted that Cornwall Council had a dynamic that allowed partners to be indicative voting members.


The Leader responded that the there was a new body responsible for Doctors, the Integrated Care System (ICS) and that this body would also be taking on dentistry and pharmacies. The Leader suggested that the correct strategy to use would be the Integrated Care Strategy, however this would take time to evolve and would be a key tool to collectively shape health inequality due to the number of partners and organisations involved.


At the conclusion of discussion, it was,




  • Approve the draft action plan.


  • Agree to a follow up visit in Autumn 2023 to help the Council assess the impact of the peer challenge and demonstrate the progress it has made against the areas of improvement and development identified.


Reason for decision:


Corporate Peer Challenges (CPCs) are a form of sector-led improvementarranged by the Local Government Association (LGA).


Responding to their feedback, via an action plan and agreeing to host a follow up visit to further reflect on learnings and actions, is the agreed approach undertaken by all councils.

Supporting documents: