INDEPENDENT experts have praised the way Redditch Borough Council has acted in response to a recent evaluation.

A local government peer challenge held at the council’s request last year saw senior people from across the country and political spectrum gather in Redditch, to scrutinise the authority’s workings and make recommendations for improvement.

The eight-strong team of critical friends spoke to 130 council staff, members, and partners over 55 meetings to produce detailed recommendations on what the council does well, and what it could do better, to achieve its goals.

The report found a financially stable council working well on its ambitious plans for Redditch in a challenging climate, and made recommendations on how and where it could improve.

The main recommendations were on the council’s community engagement in decision-making, its organisational strategies, and its financial processes, and took into account its shared services with Bromsgrove District Council which was also part of the review.

The follow-up report on what the council has since done on those recommendations was received at a recent council meeting.

The report found that "impressive progress" was made on governance and constitutional matters helping to improve decision-making.

It also noted a "strong sense of purpose and direction at the senior level" and that the council "appears to be on track" on progress on resolving the ‘Section 24’ financial management recommendations issued by auditors - with the peers encouraging the council to ensure that ongoing work on it is sustained and robust.

Councillor Matt Dormer, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said: “As the original report detailed, the recommendations have been fairly challenging to deliver.

"We had some serious feedback which members and officers have listened to and acted on and there is still plenty to be done. But we are delighted to have had a wide-ranging, politically-mixed, independent team of experts in our sector have a good hard look under the bonnet and find a council that’s able to deliver on our ambitious vision".