Independent Review of South Glos Council highlights stability and good governance as it faces ongoing financial challenges

A photograph of South Gloucestershire Council's Badminton Road office

An independent review carried out by experienced local government experts has praised South Gloucestershire Council for its strong financial management, stable leadership and high levels of growth and innovation.

The Corporate Peer Challenge, organised by the Local Government Association, involved a week-long visit by a seven-strong team of senior council politicians and officers from other authorities, led by the chief executive of Central Bedfordshire. They interviewed South Gloucestershire staff, Members and partners as well as examining the council’s finances, strategies and governance arrangements before reaching their judgment.

The final report praises the council’s track record of effective financial management, the positive relationships between councillors and officers and the strong culture of collaboration.

It also highlights areas where the council can deliver further improvement, including by setting out a clear 10-year vision for the future of the district and a council plan to deliver this; improving internal communications for staff; and delivering the council’s Community Conversations approach to engaging with residents.

Leader of the council, Claire Young, said: “This report is a welcome recognition of the hard work our staff put in every day to deliver financial stability and support residents.

“At a time of austerity, it is essential that we keep a strong focus on our budget. But the review also makes important recommendations that will help us go further. The launch of our council plan for public consultation is an important first step in setting out our vision of a greener, fairer future for South Gloucestershire.”

The report highlighted that council staff are proud to work for the authority and committed to providing the best possible services for local residents. While staff and residents alike are keen to ensure that the support for those in need are maintained and that local priorities are reflected in the new Council Plan.

South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet will consider the Corporate Peer Challenge report and an action plan to implement its recommendations at their meeting on 11 March 2024.