Hear from others who are peers

Find out how others have found the experience of being a LGA peer.

Dan Hawthorn, Executive Director of Housing and Investment, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

“The quality and quantity of insight you get by being part of a peer team is unique.  No other single experience in my career has been as rewarding and thought-provoking as the week spent as part of a peer team.”

Dawn Garton, Director for Corporate Services, Melton Borough Council

“I found the whole experience to be really worthwhile – it’s challenging but it was a great experience to have the time to delve into the workings of another council and take back the learning into my own Council, as well as adding value to the review being undertaken. The LGA were really supportive and helped me through the process and there was a fantastic team approach to the whole review from start to finish. I’ve made some new contacts to add to my network and picked up some knowledge and experience from my fellow peers. I would definitely recommend it to anyone giving this some thought.”

Sarah King, Corporate Director of Support Services, Eastleigh Borough Council

“Having just completed a peer challenge I can absolutely recommend the experience.  It’s a few days of research before the challenge and then a few intense days during the review but I guarantee you get out of it more than you put in.  The chance to network with fellow Local Government and other professionals is priceless, both within the Council being reviewed and within the Peer team.  You never leave a peer challenge without learning something and always take away some best practice that you can apply to your own organisation.”

Jane Eaton, Director of Corporate Resources, Horsham District Council

“I’ve been a peer as a Finance Director on Corporate Peer Challenges and Finance Peer Challenges.   It’s incredibly useful learning because in reviewing how another organisation does things you gain ideas from your own.   Even if you don’t agree with the other organisation’s approach you have the opportunity to discuss with colleagues how they deal with the issue and reflect on your own practice.   If you like practical hands-on learning, rather than lots of academic theory there is no better place to learn.  You also bring back good practice and if your own peer challenge is coming up you get a chance to learn what makes a peer’s job easier and how to get the best out of your review. That knowledge is invaluable to your own organisation’s success.”

Councillor Peter Fleming, Leader, Sevenoaks District Council

Even as an experienced Peer I always know I will come away from a challenge or a review with insights and knowledge that I just couldn’t get from being in the bubble of either my authority or those councils I work with regularly. Having completed a remote review recently that brought another new experience and again challenged ways of working particularly as we currently are all doing so much of our work virtually. The opportunity to take part in a peer challenge or review is one I would really recommend." 

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader, Sutton Council

I've taken part in several peer challenges, both on specific areas and looking at councils corporately across the board. I have always found them interesting, sometimes even inspiring and they always provide food for thought and learning for me to take back to my own council. It is an opportunity to compare and contrast other councils with your own, learn from best practice and challenge ourselves to do better and differently. I would really recommend taking part - it's time well spent."

Councillor Linda Van Den Hende, Councillor, London Borough of Havering

Participating in a Remote Panel carries its own challenges, but my experience indicates its welcome as it allows a safe space for exploration of issues and development of solutions in tight timeframes. Despite its limitations, remote support still enables safe discussion with other politicians and officers which itself can be the catalyst for change. The Regional Peer role has enabled me to develop sustained relationships supporting the continual improvement offer in my area which is so important for the Councils I support and for my personal growth. You never stop learning!"

Kath O'Dwyer, Chief Executive, St Helens Council 

Having had the privilege of being part of, and leading, peer review teams in a number of councils, the opportunity to support both authorities and colleagues within the sector, to identify and share good practice, to identify learning to take back to the ranch and make fabulous connections, cannot be underestimated. I think the process is a great opportunity for development and improvement for both the ‘givers’ and the ‘receivers’."

Nick Tustian, Chief Executive, Eastleigh Borough Council

I cannot recommend enough the experience of leading a Peer Review. It’s always a great privilege to be invited as part of a team to undertake the review of another Council, sharing the knowledge you have learned during your career in local government. However, in truth the learning is both ways – I’ve always found the experience to be both informative and enriching and something I would actively encourage others to take part in."

Perry Holmes, Director of Legal and Governance, Wiltshire Council

This is the richest form of personal development I have experienced to date, being part of a Corporate Peer Challenge team for a week, taking part in an intensive sector led improvement initiative, facilitated by a superb LGA peer challenge manager led by an exceptional Chief Executive and with a strong peer team of public sector colleagues. I would recommend being part of the process to anyone seeking to improve their own practice, broaden their sector knowledge and keen to share their skills, insight and knowledge with other Councils."

Bev Smith, Chief Executive, North West Leicestershire District Council

It is a real privilege to be a peer reviewer for the LGA, the opportunity to splendid time with other authorities, contributing to their journey of improvement and sharing best practice. I have learnt so much from others and am able to bring back learning to share within my own council. I have also taken part on one of the new virtual peer reviews on COVID recovery with South Staffordshire, an excellent authority and a chance to share some of the challenges we have all faced this year. I would encourage anyone to take the time to get involved, it’s great for your own personal development and so satisfying and rewarding to be able to be part of another council’s journey."

Councillor Tom Beattie, Leader of Corby Borough Council

The peer challenge was stimulating and very enjoyable. The ability to look at what another authority is doing and to share experiences with other members of the peer team was extremely useful."

Adrian Smith, Corporate Director – Place, Nottinghamshire County Council

I’m proud to have been part of the LGA Peers Team invited into Staffordshire County Council in 2018. The Team brought experience and insights from across the country to bring challenge and share learning with colleagues in Staffordshire as they planned the delivery of their ambitious vision and medium term budget. Like many councils, Staffordshire had a lot of successful practice to share and also areas of improvement. Peer review is such a powerful tool both for those being reviewed but also for the review team who gain new learning and time to reflect with peers about the challenges we face in our own councils."

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive, Derbyshire Dales District Council

The Peer Challenge programme is an excellent development opportunity for all members of the review team. The knowledge that you gain from discussions with your peers is invaluable and can be used to benefit your own organisation. I can thoroughly recommend the experience."

Further information

For further information about the peer challenge programme and role of peers, please contact: