Andrew McKegney
By Andrew McKegney

Senior Staff Writer

14 November 2022

| | 2 min read

Report praises council for cost-of-living support

A North-East council has been praised for supporting residents in the cost-of-living crisis.

Civic Centre
Newcastle Civic Centre

The independent Corporate Peer Challenge said Newcastle City Council also had a strong focus on addressing inequalities caused by the pandemic and tackling child poverty.

It said its ‘Good’ rating for Children’s Social Care was evidence of its “good understanding of its communities, local context and place within the wider region.”

The council invited the Local Government Association in to carry out the review in July to give an honest assessment of its strengths and weaknesses so it could make improvements and following a change of leadership.

The results of the review, which is not an inspection, is detailed in a report that will be discussed by the council’s Cabinet on Monday, November 21, and can be accessed in full here

Overall, the team who carried out the review, were impressed with the council’s ambitions for its communities and the city. It welcomed its approach at putting citizens at the heart of everything it does and its growth agenda for the whole of the city not just the city centre.

It praised the council’s “dedicated and passionate workforce, who are proud to represent the city and went above and beyond expectations during the pandemic.”

“Newcastle City Council is respected and well regarded by national, regional and local partners,’’ said the report.

It acknowledged the new leadership at the council was working well together as a team on clear priorities to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, poverty and achieving net zero carbon emissions.  

The report highlighted some areas for improvement including greater investment in staff development and better cross-council team working.

It called on the council to improve its performance framework to strengthen its approach to citizen-focused services and develop a clearer brand, so the city has greater influence over national policy.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp, said: “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the team and everyone who took part in this review.

“Our visitors were given open access to everyone they wanted to talk to and all documents, to make an honest assessment of how the council is functioning.

“While there is much that makes us proud – especially our workforce – who are by far and away our biggest asset, there is still room for improvement, and this is what my Cabinet and I will be working on with the Chief Executive and her teams.”

Chief executive, Pam Smith, said: “The review has shown Newcastle City Council is highly regarded among its partners. We recognise that our brilliant colleagues face daily challenges, but we pay tribute to their dedication and professionalism to the communities they serve and note the recommendations in relation to them.

“We will act on all the recommendations in the report. We stand ready to implement them with our colleagues.”

Cabinet will be asked to note the contents of the report, approve the implementation of the action plan and report back to Cabinet in 12 months’ time on progress made.