West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council logo
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

Review recognises council's good performance

Reports highlights strengths, and opportunities for improvement

Market Street offices in Newbury

West Berkshire Council has received the results of a peer review held at the end of last year.

The voluntary review was requested by the council as part of its ongoing commitment to delivering high quality, efficient and effective services for residents. It was conducted by the Local Government Association over four days in November 2019 and involved eight officers and councillors from across the country.

Councils are encouraged to undergo a review, known as a 'Corporate Peer Challenge', every five years. The review aims to highlight areas of strength and identify opportunities for improvement. Among its findings were that:

  • Partners value the council for good quality delivery across a range of council services and its track record in securing external funding for the district.
  • Sound financial management with a good track record of delivering savings and increasing income, a £131m capital programme, £100m investment fund and a £1m Transformation fund to help deliver change in the organisation.
  • That there is much to celebrate but that the council is too modest - more should be done to shout about what is delivered to enable people to enjoy what has been achieved.
  • West Berkshire is a beautiful part of the United Kingdom, has very good transport links with the rest of the country and has a strong and diverse local economy. Partners are keen for the council to help build on its 'place leadership' role by further raising the ambition, establishing clarity of purpose and sharpening the focus setting of a clear direction for West Berkshire into the future and influence the place it should be.
  • A changed Executive and managerial leadership team are having a positive impact.
  • There should be an additional focus on hearing the voice of residents increasingly consistently, more directly and on a wider range of issues.
  • Embed the new Council Strategy in all aspects of the council's business.

In reaching its conclusions the review team spoke to more than 150 people including a range of council staff, elected members, external partners and stakeholders. There were 35 interview and focus groups held and collectively the team spent more than 450 hours on the review.

Welcoming the findings Councillor Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:

"I'm delighted with the feedback from the panel and their conclusion that we are a good, solid council. The report reflects the view that we are delivering good services, have good leadership and sound relationships with our partner agencies. It has identified some areas for us to focus on if we are to stretch ourselves further, and we can only do this because we are already getting the basics right. This is something we will concentrate on over coming months.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped contribute to the review and in particular our residents and stakeholders for providing outside, honest and constructive views of the council."

You can pdf icon read the Corporate Peer Challenge Feedback Report [214kb] online. A follow-up visit by the review team will be arranged in the next couple of years to help the council assess its response to the review and recommendations made.