A review of how Newcastle City Council is functioning has revealed it is a successful council with “many strengths.”
This was one of the findings of the Corporate Peer Challenge carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA) at the Civic Centre.
The challenge – one of the LGA’s first in the country – is not an inspection but a review by an outside body which is designed to complement the council’s performance and improvement.
Among the things it examined were: how clear the priorities were; does the council have a viable financial plan; does it have effective political and managerial leadership, and is it a good partner with other organisations.
The challenge found that:
Areas for improvement and action being taken include:
The report cites: “Newcastle City Council as a high performing unitary council with a prominent position in the North East. Most of the council’s core services are seen to be good or excellent and the authority has a proven track record and national reputation for solid service delivery and sound financial management.”
Commenting on the report, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, said: “This report shows that the city council is a good council but it makes some interesting observations which we need to take on board if we are to continue to provide high quality services in the face of cuts.
“We will carefully consider the findings and use them to shape the way that we change our approach to work more closely with communities.
“There will be a three-year budget and we will explore radical alternatives to the traditional models of providing services in keeping with the values of a cooperative council.”
Chief executive, Barry Rowland, said: “The Peer Challenge has taken place at a very important time in the development of the city council which has made it extremely useful.
“It has given us some valuable insights which we have used to make some changes already such as enlarging Corporate Management Team and making it more diverse.
“We have also started developing ‘Newcastle 2016’ – a medium term corporate plan which will set out how to respond to the city’s challenges over the next four years.”
To access the full Corporate Peer Challenge report visit: www.newcastle.gov.uk/peerchallenge2012
The corporate peer challenge took place in March 2012.
The Local Government Association supports, promotes and seeks to improve local government.
Page last updated: 1 June, 2012