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Peer Challenge

Officers and councillors from other local authorities visited Colchester Borough Council in June 2014 to consider how the Council is performing and make suggestions for improvement.

The visit was organised as part of the Local Government Association's 'Peer Challenge' scheme and was at the invitation of the Leader and Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council. It lasted 4 days and involved 3 officers including another district council Chief Executive, and two councillors.

During their visit the peers spoke with 99 people in 51 sessions. This included councillors from each political party, officers from many parts of the Council, and representatives from external partners in the community, business, voluntary and local government sectors.

The Peers have now written to Adrian Pritchard, Colchester Council's Chief Executive, summarising what they found.

The Peers described Colchester as "impressive place" with "great potential". They praised the Council for its "enthusiastic people", noting how many "bright and committed staff" it has.

The Peers also praised the way Councillors and officers work together, and noted the good relationships the Council has with many other organisations. The peers commented on how people had said "we can do business with Colchester".

The letter also included several recommendations to help Colchester Council during the coming years. At a time of great change for local authorities, these included helping people understand the vision and main priorities; closely managing the Council's ambitious plans to save money; identifying the opportunities the Council has to earn more income from commercial trading; and beefing up the way it communicates with staff and includes them in decision making.