An independent review has described Richmondshire District Council as an ‘ambitious’ authority wanting to increase services where it can to support local residents.
But the Peer Review team said that to achieve its aspirations for development and growth the authority needed to focus on creating clear priorities and actions – and encourage wider engagement with stakeholders.
The council invited the Local Government Association to conduct the review to look at ways in which it could improve and grow. The five members of the review team spent a week with the authority last November talking to council staff, councillors, partners and stakeholders.
Their findings have now been published and an action plan to address findings will be considered by members of the authority’s Corporate Board in June.
“The Peer Review has confirmed a good deal of what we know – people like working for the council and we are ambitious,” said Council Leader, Councillor Yvonne Peacock.
“Now we need to take stock of the finer details of the report and agree a plan of action to move things forward. That includes looking at maximising our influence with existing and potential partners, considering further income generation options and prioritising the use of our funds to meet our key objectives.”
The review team also suggested the council developed its work with outside agencies and looked to other bodies that worked with the MOD and National Parks to improve learning.
“The review team recognised that we have leverage to maximise the benefits of partnership working for our residents and communities – but found people did not know about our work,” added Councillor Peacock.
“We need to ensure we improve this and get the recognition we deserve.”
She said the team praised the council’s work with housing partners – the willingness to facilitate new housing schemes and the provision of affordable homes in deeply rural areas. And while there is a healthy financial balance now, there are challenges ahead with strategic decisions needed to ensure continuity in service delivery.