Review highlights civic strengths

Stuart Drummond
Stuart Drummond

A COUNCIL has been praised after a review highlighted a series of strengths.

The Peer Review was an opportunity for Hartlepool Borough Council to have a team of senior officers and councillors from other authorities, plus officers from the Local Government Association (LGA), review the strengths and the challenges facing the council.

That review took place last week and the initial findings have been reported to staff and councillors.

Civic leaders say they are “committed” to building on the strengths and addressing the challenges highlighted by the review, which took place last week.

The Peer Review found:

l The council, with partners, has a good range of mechanisms in place for engaging and informing local people and neighbourhood working is operating well.

l The council has traditionally performed well and delivered good quality services and major regeneration has been successfully delivered.

l There has traditionally been a good set of working relationships with partner organisations.

l The council has a tradition of delivering within budget, a robust medium term financial strategy and has delivered efficiencies and savings required.

The review team highlighted a series of challenges including making sure there is “clear evidence to demonstrate” the council is meeting the needs of the community and to ensure the council has the capacity to “address the significant challenges” it faces.

Also, to make sure the political leadership and governance of the council is “clear and robust whether there is change following the Mayoral referendum or not”.

A letter reporting the initial findings has been sent from Mayor Stuart Drummond, Labour group leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of the Conservative group Ray Wells and acting chief executive Nicola Bailey.

The letter read: “The strengths that the Peer Review team have identified are impressive and we would want to thank councillors, staff of the local authority and partners for their enthusiasm and commitment to making this the case.

“It is also the case that to invite the Peer Team in and to discount the challenges they have posed to us would be the wrong thing to do.

“We do not have the final report yet but expect this in the next month or so.”