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Corporate Peer Challenge

The Corporate Peer Challenge (CPC) invites a small team of officers and political members from councils across the UK with the goal of providing challenge and support to the Council. This is organised through the Local Government Association (LGA)

What is a Corporate Peer Challenge?

A CPC is tailored to the specific needs of each council. They are improvement driven and aim to provide strategic feedback to help us move forward and overcome current issues.

Every CPC covers five core elements:

  • Local priorities and outcomes;
  • Organisational and place leadership;
  • Governance and culture;
  • Financial planning and management
  • Capacity for improvement.

A peer challenge is a rigorous assessment, evaluating our performance as a Council.

  • We received written and verbal feedback at the end of the challenge.
  • In six months months time (July 2024), we will meet with the LGA to look at our progress and the changes we have made in response to the peers recommendations.


This took place from 16 to 19 October 2023.

The team spoke with:

  • Several councillors;
  • Senior officers;
  • Representatives from partners and stakeholders across the borough;
  • Focus groups made up of staff and other relevant people.

Members of the team also visited areas and projects around the borough.

The team also:

  • Gathered information and views from more than 55 meetings, in addition to further research and reading. 
  • Spoke to more than 160 people including a range of staff together external partners and stakeholders. 

The peer challenge team members were:

  • Cllr Gillian Ford - London Borough of Havering (Independent member peer)
  • Cllr Alyson Barnes - Rossendale Borough Council (Labour member peer)
  • Peter Fleming - Former leader Sevenoaks District Council (Conservative member peer)
  • Rose Rouse, Chief Executive Pendle Borough Council (Chief Executive peer)
  • Ben Lockwood, Deputy Chief Executive - Ashford Borough Council (Officer peer)
  • Jo Yelland, Director - Exeter City Council (Officer peer)
  • Will Pearson, Climate Change Strategy Manager - Cheshire West and Chester Council (Officer peer)


The key recommendations from the CPC can be seen below.

Recommendation 1
Engage, consult and co-produce with residents and communities – Develop a customer engagement strategy/charter.

Recommendation 2
Talk and listen to staff, create new regular channels of ongoing staff engagement.

Recommendation 3
The political and managerial leadership needs to take stock and think about how to make the council fit for the future.

Recommendation 4
Re-focus Senior Leadership Team on strategic issues and empower managers to manage and deliver.

Recommendation 5
Use headroom to deliver ongoing annual revenue savings to address the underlying budget gap in 2026/27.

Recommendation 6
Put in place a transformation programme that designs everything around residents and communities.

Recommendation 7
Performance measures and data needs to focus on priorities and outcomes and provide the right information for members to make decisions.

Recommendation 8
Undertake a governance review to focus meetings on adding value to decision-making and scrutiny.

View the full Corporate Peer Challenge report

Action Plan

An action plan was developed and presented to the Cabinet for consideration on 5 March 2024.

The CPC action plan can be seen below.

View the Corporate Peer Challenge action plan