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Redditch Borough Council has been recognised for being open to ‘new ideas’ while putting the customer first, according to a report from public sector experts.

However senior managers, officers and Members must also set aside time to pause and reflect on the journey so far to redefine the next steps.

The Corporate Peer Challenge Feedback report follows a visit to both Bromsgrove and Redditch Borough Councils, by colleagues from the Local Government Association (LGA).

Key recommendations include the Council celebrating its shared services success with Bromsgrove District Council, which has saved £7.5m since 2010/11 and are continuing to deliver around £1.5m per annum.

To complement this, the report suggests the Council should define a shared, single workforce culture ‘from the bottom up’ to negate the need for two structures and systems of governance.

Peers recommended that financial accountability needs greater ownership throughout the organisation especially around recharging across both authorities.

Redditch Borough Council Leader Matt Dormer said: “First of all we welcome this independent report as, being the new administration, we want to build on the strengths of this Council but also address the areas which need improvement.

“In fact the peers, in the report, echo my first speech as Leader and urge us to be ‘bold’ as a Council going forward.

“I am delighted that the excitement about the regeneration of Redditch town centre has been recognised and I look forward to working as a Council with our partners to truly Unlock Redditch. There are a number of recommendations contained within the report and I will be working hard with my colleagues in Bromsgrove to drive the Council forward.”

Corporate Peer Challenges are a national sector-led improvement programme offered to authorities across the country.

It’s not an inspection but rather an improvement-focussed process tailored to meet individual council’s needs.

The process, commissioned by the Council, involved engaging with a wide range of people connected with the Council, including officers, Members, partners and the media. A single visit was carried out, in January, across both organisations which were recognised as having different communities facing different challenges.

Chief Executive Kevin Dicks said: “During the visits the peers, who hailed from different councils across the country and the LGA, met with 120 people and held 50 separate meetings.

“It gave us a chance to take a 360 degree look at ourselves and, as one of the first Councils nationally to embark on Shared Services a decade ago, I am pleased our innovation has been recognised.

“We will continue to respond to change to the local government and the wider public services landscape with vigour and this report has re-ignited our passion to do so with, as always, our customer in mind.

A full copy of the report is here.