Published: Thursday, 7th December 2023
The Royal Borough of Greenwich is an ambitious council delivering solid services for residents, an independent new review has revealed.
The Council put itself under the spotlight earlier this year by inviting the Local Government Association (LGA) to carry out a robust ‘peer challenge’ into how it works.
The results of six-days of scrutiny by councillors and senior leaders from other authorities has now confirmed that the Council is "delivering a wide range of services to good affect" and beginning to "look outwards more."
Inspectors were full of praise for Our Greenwich, the Council’s corporate plan, which they thought reflects ambitions around a refreshed approach to engaging communities and new ways of working within the Council.
Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “This is an important milestone for us as it recognises that, despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced in recent years, we are an efficient organisation that, first and foremost, improves the lives of residents.
“Peer reviews are designed to be tough to make sure that we are doing everything to the best of our abilities, so we’re really pleased with the positive feedback about our innovative approaches, partnership working as well as the recognising the positive impact Our Greenwich, our corporate plan, is having to deliver services.”
“Now the next step is to use what we’ve learnt to prepare for what lies ahead. Like most councils, we’re under huge financial pressures having lost over half of our funding since 2010 due to the decisions of successive governments. We’ll be using this review as an opportunity make sure we’re focusing in the right areas and maintaining our efficiency.”
Debbie Warren, Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, added: "This is a challenging time for Greenwich, but it is also an exciting time. With the launch of Our Greenwich, our corporate plan, earlier this year there is real energy within both our councillor and officer groups for delivering meaningful positive change.
"We see this peer review as a fantastic opportunity to help provide some objectivity and constructive feedback that can help inform the journey we want to go on over the next few years and make us an even better council that does more to deliver for the borough we serve.”
Peer challenges are an established tool that supports councils to drive improvements across the Council. They are not mandatory, but it is a chance for councils to get feedback from local government colleagues.
The review, undertaken at the Royal Borough if Greenwich's invitation was led by Andy Donald, Chief Executive, London Borough of Haringey,·Councillor Grace Williams, Leader of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, and five other local government officers in June and August, found:
good examples of the Council working jointly with partners to deliver for the people of Greenwich
strong partnership relationships across health, adults, children’s, public health and employment
impressive integrated health and care arrangements
passionate and strong championing of the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda.
The team made suggestions of what the Royal Borough of Greenwich can do differently and where it can make improvements. The Council is developing an action plan in response to these recommendations which will be published early next year.
The LGA will do a follow-up visit in March 2024 to see how things have progressed.