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Independent review highlights good progress

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A Cabinet meeting at Walsall Council on Wednesday 13 December 2023 will discuss the findings of a recent corporate peer challenge six-month progress review.

corporate peer challenge

The six-month progress review is the final report from the Local Government Association (LGA) in the corporate peer challenge process and it is available to view on the council website.

Earlier this year, an independent review by local government experts highlighted the significant transformation and change at Walsall Council in recent years. It praised the excellent transformation approach of the council’s ‘Proud’ programme and the strong culture of improvement and learning that the peer team witnessed within the council during their initial four-day visit in January 2023. 

The six-month progress review follows a revisit by the LGA’s peer challenge team in October 2023. This praised positive council practice and stated that the council was “in a better financial position than many other authorities”. 

“ Taking part in the corporate peer challenge process has been a very welcome and positive experience for the council. Our residents are at the heart of what we do, and this review has demonstrated that Walsall Council is working hard to improve the services that we provide for our residents. We’re ambitious for Walsall and seeking independent challenge from other local government experts helps confirm that we’re doing the right things, reinforces what we need to focus on and shows what we may need to change. “

Councillor Mike Bird, Leader of Walsall Council

“ It’s important that we share information, experience and expertise across the local government sector. Feedback from this independent assessment shows how far we have come as an organisation, and we will continue to build on the progress that we have made in recent years. “

Emma Bennett, Chief Executive of Walsall Council

The corporate peer challenge report published earlier this year highlighted some areas where further improvement could be achieved and made 11 recommendations to further support the council’s improvement journey.

Walsall Council then created an improvement action plan in response to the recommendations, setting out how the council would address learnings from the review. Progress on this action plan formed the basis for a return visit by the assessment team in October 2023.

Walsall Council has published reports associated with its 2023 LGA corporate peer challenge on its website.

You can read more in the reports and plan below:

Walsall Council Corporate Peer Challenge Report

Walsall Council Action Plan

LGA six-month progress report

Notes to editors

  • A corporate peer challenge is a voluntary assessment to check how a council is performing and test its future plans. It is a proven tool for improvement and all councils will have one every five years. The last one at Walsall Council took place in 2017 and was the catalyst for its successful ‘Proud’ transformation programme. 
  • The initial report sets out the findings from a visit to the council in January 2023 by a team of senior local government representatives as part of a Local Government Association (LGA) corporate peer challenge. 
  • The peer team included Councillor Rob Waltham, the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, and Alison McKenzie-Folan, the Chief Executive of Wigan Council. Over the course of four days, the peer team conducted an independent review into the running of Walsall Council and spoke to more than 120 people including council staff, elected members, volunteers and external partner organisations through a mixture of one-to-ones and focus groups. 
  • For more information about corporate peer challenges, visit the LGA website at:


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