The council participated in a Corporate Peer Challenge (CPC) with the aim of further improving the council’s work.
The review, which is offered to all local authorities by the Local Government Association (LGA), took place in June 2023 and included a three-day site visit.
The independent CPC report published last week found East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to be well-run and well-managed, open and approachable as well as a trusted and respected partner.
The council was also found to be financially prudent with a good record of financial stability and on the delivery of savings.
The report noted that it was clear from the interviews conducted that ‘the organisation does what it says it will do and does it well’, with the review team finding a strong track record of delivery across all key service areas.
Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “I am delighted that the peer review report has praised our partnership working and highlighted how much our staff value working for East Sussex.
“We are all aware of current financial climate and it is therefore extremely reassuring, that the CPC team has found the council’s finances to be carefully managed with robust procedures in place.
“The review team found us to be a well-managed, inclusive authority and I am proud to lead such an organisation.”
The CPC team highlighted areas where further improvements could be achieved and has made eight broad recommendations to the local authority.
Cllr Glazier added: “Of course there is always room for improvement, and we welcome the recommendations in the review report. We will work hard to continue to deliver improvements that benefit the whole of East Sussex.”
The council has drafted an action plan to address the recommendations which include developing the council’s existing strong partnerships, increasing diversity in the organisation, sharing the council’s successes more widely, and continuing to act on the future of office spaces reflecting the move to hybrid working.
Becky Shaw, the council’s Chief Executive, said: “It is really important we welcome the learning and the thoughtful provocation that the peer review has given us.
“The review offered a timely opportunity to check in on our progress over the recent challenging years and it has provided an important external perspective on how we have been approaching future challenges.
“I am particularly delighted the peer team has highlighted the many examples of staff excellence at ESCC which is testament to the dedication shown by, and quality of, our workforce.”
CPCs are offered to all local authorities by the LGA once every five years and the reviews involve leading councillors and senior officers from other councils across the country.
The team who visited East Sussex were: Dr Martin Reeves, Chief Executive, Oxfordshire County Council; Cllr Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council; Matti Raudsepp, Director of Customer, Arts & Property, Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council; Julie Greaves, Head of Sustainability, Hertfordshire County Council; Angela Kawa, LGA; and Sophie Kitching, Warwickshire County Council.
The process includes a six-month check-in session with the LGA which will provide an opportunity for the council to update peers on progress against the action plan and to discuss next steps.
The CPC Final Feedback Report can be found online at https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/s53015/CPC%20Final%20Feedback%20Report%202023%20-%20Appendix%201.pdf, and the council’s response to the recommendations can be viewed at https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/s53016/Appendix%202.pdf.