Cumbria Crack

Copeland Council praised by review team

Mike Starkie

COPELAND Council has received a positive report from an external review team.

The council took part in a Corporate Peer Challenge, organised by the Local Government Association (LGA), in order to evaluate, improve and challenge its performance.

The review team, made up of elected members and officers from a range of councils across the UK, spent three days in Copeland touring the area, attending council meetings and interviewing more than 80 members of staff, councillors and external partners.

In its report published this week, the team’s key findings are:

  • Employees are engaged, passionate and proud to work for Copeland. They have also shown great resilience in the wake of unprecedented recent challenges.
  • Credit goes to the workforce for their continued aspiration for Copeland’s future.
  • The leadership from the Chief Executive [Pat Graham] and the Mayor [Mike Starkie] is widely-respected and well thought-of, and the recently-expanded Corporate Leadership Team is welcomed.
  • There is a clear workforce strategy, and the new Performance Management Framework will help succession planning, recruitment and retention
  • Positive outcomes have included: the launch of the town centre regeneration scheme; the creation of the multi-agency Copeland Hub; the clear theme of social inclusion.
  • Partners regard Copeland positively and there are many examples of collaborative working
  • Steps have been taken to address historic financial governance issues

The team also makes 11 recommendations to ensure the council’s continued progress.

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “I am delighted with the extremely positive report we have received from the review team. It’s particularly encouraging to read the feedback from our staff, who speak of their pride at working for the council, and the wide range of partners with whom we enjoy a productive and collaborative relationship.

“It’s also encouraging that, in terms of the recommendations made, none have come as a surprise to us, and we are already taking action to address these issues.

“Overall, the report helps us keep a sharp focus on everything we are working so hard to achieve, and I’d like to thank the huge numbers of staff, councillors and partners who took part in the process.”

Pat Graham, Copeland Council’s Chief Executive, said: “We invited the LGA Peer Challenge to support the council in our modernisation, and also to ensure that the focus on service delivery and our economy was – and is – being maintained.

“We are ambitious for our council and our community and the review reflects that, which is very pleasing.”

The Peer Challenge process now includes a follow-up visit within the next two years so the council can assess the impact of the challenge and demonstrate the progress made against the areas of improvement identified.

The full report is available at