Independent Peer Review Praises Council Staff’s Passion for City

An independent peer review has praised the passion of Gloucester City Council’s staff for their commitment to the city and its residents.

The seven strong panel made up of representatives from local authorities around the country met with more than 50 people at the council including councillors, and spoke with external partners to carry out the review.

They looked at the city council’s structure and performance on a range of topics including place leadership, culture and financial management as well as how it responded to the cyber incident in December 2021.

The review found that despite the severity of the incident, which affected some internal systems the council had done ‘remarkably well to continue to deliver its facilities and services’ to residents.

Reviewers also praised the scope of the council’s ambition for the city reflected in its huge programme of regeneration, which continues to see multi-million pound projects taking shape including The Forum development and the refurbishment of Kings Walk Shopping Centre.

It recognised the council’s commitment to addressing climate change that has seen it pledge carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2030, and within the broader district by 2045.

The report mentions ‘brilliant’ examples of work to tackle inequalities in the city including the council’s social value work through procurement that means any contract of more than £50,000 must take into account impact on the community’s economic, social, and environmental wellbeing.

Other highlights included praise for the council’s dedicated staff and peer reviewers said the authority was ‘blessed to have the quality of staff that it has, who evidence a real passion to do their very best for the city and people of Gloucester.’

It applauded the good work that was being done to bring communities together with the Commission on Race Relations and the council’s track record of working closely with residents towards a common goal for example the council’s coordination of the Community Help Hub during the pandemic. The hub assisted thousands of residents supplying them with essential food and medicine.

The report also sets out a number of key areas for improvement and development to which the council has put together a robust action plan.

Councillor Hannah Norman, Deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “We welcome the feedback from the Peer Reviewers and are delighted not only that the scale of our ambition for the city has been recognised and our close relationships with the community but that the hard work of our officers has been highlighted. Their commitment and dedication should not be underestimated especially during both Covid and the Cyber Incident they went over and above to ensure that they were supporting local residents and delivering great services.”

The report will be discussed at the city council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday, May 3.