Back in July a small group of councillors and council specialists from other parts of the country came to Rochford to carry out a “Peer Review” of how the council is doing. Their report is over 30 pages long, and is up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting next Thursday.
Here are some snippets [with a few comments from us!]
Rochford District Council has made good progress since the last inspection in 2004…
The new political structure has the potential to improve the decision-making process [Hmmm….the cabient certainly gives the opportunity to make bad decisions more quickly]
The political and adminstrative leadership are committed to delivering projects that support the corporate objectives of the council [ they probably mean the transfer of the housing stock and the expansion of Cherry Orchard Country Park]
Staff are ambitious and well motivated.
Performance Management is improving and sickness levels have reduced.
The Leader [Terry Cutmore] and Chief Executive [Paul Warren] are approachable and well regarded by staff [That’s true]
There is scope to improve member engagement [ many ordinary councillors are unhappy with the cabinet system and don’t even bother to come to full council now]
The council should ‘articulate more clearly and confidentally a clearer vision for the area’ [The council may have trouble with this . When Jackie mentioned the phrase ‘vision statement’ at last week’s council, it was almost implied that this was just socialism ]
Members need to lead policy development
The current aims of council are only partially addressed in the budget priortisation process, for example, encouraging a thriving local economy. There is limited evidence of what this means in terms of working with the business community. [The council should talk to the chambers of trade before deciding on changes in car park charges!]
There are good working relationships between the Leader, Deputy Leader and the Chief Executive. They are good ambassadors for the council, have a shared understanding about what needs to be done and the energy and committment to achieve their aspirations
A recurring theme during the review was that some staff would like more contact with members in order to gain a wider understanfing of their contribution to the organisation