I’m part of the Wales Audit Office team currently working on a corporate assessment of Ceredigion County Council.. We do these kinds of reviews at all councils, once every four years, to provide a position statement on whether a local authority has the capacity and capability to deliver continuous improvement.
We assess the Council’s track record of performance and the outcomes they’ve achieved., and our work ends up in the form of a published report. We also report on the key arrangements that the council needs to have in place to secure improvements in its services and functions.
These corporate assessments are important in helping local authorities to know how they are doing on their improvement journey and for other council’s to see how their counterparts are doing elsewhere in Wales. They are also useful documents in providing assurance to the public.
It’s really interesting working on these projects. During our fieldwork we get to run interviews & focus groups with staff, councillors and partners as well as reviewing key council documents.
But we also need to get a clear picture of how well citizens understand the Council’s improvement areas and the outcomes it is seeking to achieve. At Ceredigion, we are piloting a survey – called MyCeredigion – where we are asking people who live in the County to have their say on how they think their Council is performing.
The online survey is quick and easy to fill in and is designed to gather opinion from local citizens on whether they agree with the council’s priorities in certain areas; what’s changed; whether they think certain service areas have got better, worse or stayed the same – and what can be improved.
The survey is open throughout February and March and we’ll use the results help to inform our report, which is due to be published later this year.
We’re really pleased that the Council are very supportive of us as we seek the views of their citizens. It will help to hold a mirror against the results of their own surveys that they carry out with their citizens’ panel in October and May each year.
If you’re interested in finding out the results of our work, we’ll be publishing the report on our website when it is ready.
In the meantime, if you live in Ceredigion, we really want to find out what you think of your council. So, please take the time to complete our survey and play an important part in the work we are doing there.
About the Author:
Justine Morgan is a Performance Audit Lead working in local government and joined the Wales Audit Office in 2005.Previously she worked as a Director at a south wales based housing association responsible for the management, maintenance and development of over 3,000 homes.