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LGA launches Sector Support Programme 2024/25

The Local Government Association (LGA) has launched its 2024/25 Sector Support programme.

The LGA is aiming to provide councils with new and enhanced tools and support to harness opportunities, drive improvement across all regions and deliver critical services to communities. 

The support offer, funded by the UK Government, continues to be hugely valued by councils and builds on the current five key themes of governance leadership, finance, workforce and transformation, directly informed by engagement with local government.

Insights from the improvement and assurance framework consultation have informed and shaped this year’s support, helping to ensure that councils are in a better position to improve and address any challenges which emerge.

This includes our strengthened Corporate Peer Challenge (CPC) approach and expanded range of officer and councillor development opportunities, including for statutory officers. As well this, the LGA will introduce a significant new foundation programme for newly appointed chief executives, following a successful pilot in 2023-24.

The new, robust CPC has an even greater focus on finance, data and evidence, delivering a strong assessment of council performance and productivity. This is alongside a stronger focus on governance and culture, reflecting current challenges to the sector and the current draft statutory guidance on best value authorities.

A new CPC report structure, style and format has been introduced, including reports which will be more authoritative and direct in content, with councils expected to have a CPC every five years as part of the refreshed government grant-funded offer to the sector. 

This year’s Sector Support programme also features a wider range of councillor-focused transformation support. This will help councillors to develop the necessary skills for change, while continuing to focus on core aspects, such as targeted finance and workforce support, and management of national collective bargaining, covering pay negotiations for the sector.

Local authorities continue to face well-publicised recruitment and capacity challenges, and this year, the LGA will launch a flagship national recruitment campaign which aims to attract new talent and promote the benefits of a career in local government.  

Support will continue to be delivered for councils experiencing changes in political leadership or control. This provides councillors and officers with vital support and guidance before and after the elections period to ensure greater leadership capacity, robust governance and smooth political transitions.

Feedback shows that sector support maintains a strong track record of delivering quality support for the sector, with 100 per cent of councils reporting that the process of preparing for and participating in a CPC has had a positive impact on their council, for three years in a row, with similarly high impact scores across wider programme areas.

The Sector Support programme forms part of the wider support offer comprising: 

  • children’s services
  • Partners in Care and Health (adult social care)
  • cyber, digital and technology
  • One Public Estate (OPE)
  • planning (PAS and Pathways to Planning)
  • procurement and sustainability 

which are also funded by UK Government departments; and culture, tourism and sport, which is funded by Sport England.  

There are also a number of paid-for programmes that make up the wider Sector Support offer for example Adult Social Care Peer Challenges and the NGDP Finance Scheme.  

Cllr Abi Brown OBE, Chair of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: 

“We are delighted to launch this year’s Sector Support Programme for councils, which has been informed by councils. New and continuing aspects of this offer respond directly to sector needs.

“Peer led support remains a cornerstone of the programme – no one understands local government better than local leaders and councillors, chief executives and senior officers, who are uniquely equipped to provide advice and support.

“Our strengthened CPC approach is part of a wider focus on assurance to meet the needs of the sector. CPCs are a recognised improvement and assurance tool, which holds a mirror up to the local authority. This offer is available to all councils, with all councils expected to have a CPC at least once every five years.

“Our wide-ranging programme will continue to provide local authorities with necessary support to deliver critical services which our residents rely on, while helping them to make the best of opportunities and drive improvement in their areas. 

“The sector support programme provides highly impactful support. Given the scale of challenges facing the sector, now more than ever it is critical that councils have access to support they need.”

Notes to editors

Original article link: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/lga-launches-sector-support-programme-202425

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