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Council’s ambitions for Sefton recognised in independent review

Sefton Council has shown it demonstrates real ambition for Sefton and has a strong track record of partnership working and place leadership, according to the Local Government Association’s (LGA) peer review team.

The six-strong team of expert local government officers and councillors were invited in by the Council and spent four days in Sefton during September talking to over 140 staff, councillors of all parties, and public and private partners.

They considered five core themes: understanding local context and priority setting; leadership of place; financial planning and viability; organisational leadership and governance; and capacity to deliver.

Their independent findings, which are being presented to Cabinet on Thursday November 29th, praised the Council for listening to and serving its communities well through a challenging period of austerity.

They also highlighted the Council’s knowledge of Sefton, combined with strong political and managerial leadership and successfully managing a 51% reduction in grant funding through effective budget planning.

Throughout the review, the peer team commented on how impressed they were by the energy, commitment and appetite for change held by the workforce which they felt put the Council in a strong position to continue its transformation journey and effectively play its role in achieving the Sefton 2030 vision.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “The Peer Review provided us with a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Sefton and all the things we have done that we are proud of, despite difficult financial challenges. We are very much a listening Council, with clear ambitions for our communities and I’m glad that this has been recognised by the team.

“I know I’ve said it before but I must reiterate how amazed I am by how passionate and adaptable our workforce is despite constant change and how they continue to strive to provide the best services they can to our communities despite these challenges. I’m delighted that the Peer Review team have highlighted it in their report findings.

“Their independent check on how we are doings in terms of planning for and delivering for the future has provided us with confidence that we’re definitely on the right track. Their suggestions going forward will support us our continuous journey of improvement and will help us deliver the best services to local people.”

A Peer Review is not compulsory and provides an informed and independent assessment of a Council’s direction of travel and makes recommendations for its future improvement and learning.

The Peer Review team has suggested some areas for the Council to consider in the full feedback report, which includes prioritising the refresh of the core purpose, accelerating work on a local economic growth strategy and clearer parameters around commercialisation.

On Thursday, Cabinet will be asked to comment on the feedback received and authorise officers to develop an associated action plan to be considered by January 2019 Cabinet.

For a full copy of the report visit