Corporate Peer Challenge 2017

In February 2017, the Council invited the Local Government Association to conduct a Corporate Peer Challenge to provide external feedback on our performance and to highlight areas where we can do even more.

Feedback from the Peer Challenge has provided us with a strong baseline assessment from which we can improve upon. You can read more about the process here, and download a copy of the final report below.

What is a peer challenge?

The peer challenges are provided by the LGA at no cost, as part of their sector led improvement programme. The process is designed to be forward looking, facilitative and problem solving. It is not a form of inspection and does not rank or score the council in any way.

Who was on the peer challenge team?

The peer team was agreed jointly between the Council and the LGA and was made up of six people with a wealth of experience across local government, health and the private sector:

  • William Benson, Chief Executive, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
  • Cllr Neil Clarke, Leader, Rushcliffe Borough Council 
  • Cllr Chris White, Leader Lib Dem Group, St Albans City and District Council and Hertfordshire County Council 
  • Tracy Morrison, Director of Resources, Fylde Borough Council 
  • Allison Westray-Chapman, Joint Assistant Director of Economic Growth, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire District Councils
  • Nick Easton, LGA Peer Challenge Manager.

How did it work?

The peer challenge was focused around on-site interviews and focus groups with Councillors, staff, partners and community representatives.

The peer challenge scope was agreed in advance with the Council. All peer challenges focus on five core areas:

  • Understanding of the local place and priority setting: Does the council understand its local context and place and use that to inform a clear vision and set of priorities?
  • Leadership of Place: Does the council provide effective leadership of place through its elected members, officers and constructive relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders?
  • Organisational leadership and governance: Is there effective political and managerial leadership supported by good governance and decision-making arrangements that respond to key challenges and enable change and transformation to be implemented
  • Financial planning and viability: Does the council have a financial plan in place to ensure long term viability and is there evidence that it is being implemented successfully?
  • Capacity to deliver: Is organisational capacity aligned with priorities and does the council influence, enable and leverage external capacity to focus on agreed outcomes?


The Peer Challenge team recognised the high quality services and support that we are delivering. Winchester is well placed strategically and surrounded by opportunities. 

The peer team highlighted nine key recommendations that can help the council further improve services over the coming years. 

What next?

To help implement the peer team's recommendations we have produced an action plan, and will assess progress against that plan. We will commission our internal auditors to complete a review of our progress against the action plan and this will report back to the Audit Committee early in the new year. The action plan is available to view below.