LGA guidance


Adult social care peer challenge


Following the removal of national targets and assessments, councils are working through the opportunities and challenges of self-regulation, improvement and innovation in adult social care.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is working with partners to develop a programme for sector-led support in adult services:

Towards excellence in adult social care

This will focus on promoting excellence and harnessing the skills of local authorities. Its core elements – regional working, robust data, annual self-reporting and peer challenge – are consistent with the sector’s wider approach to improvement.

The peer challenge process aims to help local government to help itself to respond to the changing agenda for adult social care. Undertaken from the viewpoint of a friend, albeit a ‘critical friend’, peer challenge allows a team of people who understand the pressures of running a local authority to review the council’s practices in a challenging but supportive way. It:

  • includes an assessment of current achievements
  • provides recommendations of how further improvements can be made.

It is a constructive, collaborative and supportive process with has the central aim of helping councils improve. It is not an inspection, nor does it award any form of rating category.

Every council and partnership is different and the challenge team will ensure the challenge is individually tailored to the needs and priorities of each local authority. Adult Social Care peer challenges can also be tailored to look specifically at adult social care transformation, safeguarding and other specific issues.

The Adult Social Care peer challenge has been piloted in local authorities and the key areas of focus are:

Adult social care peer challenge key areas of focus (PDF, 12 pages, 258KB)
Adult social care peer challenge key areas of focus with additional probes (PDF, 28 pages, 267KB)

Over time, the LGA will use the learning from the reviews to build up a body of good practice, which can then be used for sector-led improvement throughout the sector.

Peer challenge offer

The peer challenge approach has been successfully delivered on more than 1,000 occasions in local authorities.

It will include the following stages:

  • self-assessment
  • document review
  • onsite work – five days
  • key findings and practical suggestions for improvement
  • a written summary report and recommendations
  • optional follow-up support or workshop activity.

A standard peer challenge team is typically made up of at least five people:

  • lead peer– director of adult services
  • senior officer peer – assistant director
  • member peer – a lead councillor with experience of adult social care
  • health peer – a senior manager from the health service
  • LGA challenge manager who will manage and guide the challenge team.

The LGA will recruitment and select suitable peers and ensure you are happy with the peer team. The LGA is responsible for the training and placement of peers right across the local government sector. We have recruited specialist social care peers who have been trained in the areas required for peer work, namely:

  • working with others
  • developing others
  • providing challenge
  • communications
  • planning
  • political and organisational sensitivity.

What is the cost?

The present cost of an Adult Social Care peer challenge is £11,500 plus reasonable expenses.

Further information

If you have any queries or would like to discuss the Adult Social Care peer challenge, please contact:

Marcus Coulson
Programme Manager, LGA
Telephone: 07766 252 853
Email: marcus.coulson@local.gov.uk

Source: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/peer-challenges/-/journal_content/56/10180/3511083/ARTICLE