Take part in an LGA peer review!
The LGA is currently inviting volunteers to take part in peer reviews.
Part of the package from which LGA member councils benefit is the offer to have a “corporate peer challenge” carried out to review the health and direction of the authority and its work. This is not an inspection, but a process by which a small team of fellow councillors and officers are invited by the authority to take a look at the council’s systems, processes and outcomes, and to make recommendations about what might be improved.
There is not a complex methodology for this process – it relies to a great extent on the professional expertise and judgment of the officers and members taking part in it.
I have taken part in two peer reviews and am doing another at the end of this month (February). It is a fantastic and fascinating experience, and genuinely enjoyable. The LGA are keen to find volunteers with a background in governance and scrutiny, and this presents a great chance for any officer to develop themselves, and gain some insight and knowledge that will be useful back in their home authority. The act of developing a detailed knowledge of a council you have had no previous dealings with is invigorating, and helps you to think about the professional issues you face yourself in a different way. I can strongly recommend it.
The LGA require those interested to fill in a form. Training is available regularly throughout the year for new peers (and those wanting to refresh their memories about the process), held in Warwick.
(I should stress that this opportunity is open only to employees and members of councils who are members of the LGA. This includes every council in England apart from Barnet, Bromley and Wandsworth.)