Family groups have been set up by councils to support the meaningful interpretation of the LGBF data and to identify and share good service practice. The aim is to promote dialogue between councils on where good practice lies and to share it across councils. In doing so the intention is to better understand factors that each council can control in improving its costs against its performance achievements. The benchmarking data on its own does not identify how to improve a service but gives councils the context within which they can explore and better understand issues and a platform through which they can learn from established good practice.
Family groups based on factors such as population density and deprivation were agreed to provide a structure for similar councils to come together to drill-down into the benchmarking data. These groupings allow councils facing similar challenges to share good practice and work together to improve their services.
Following evaluation of a pilot approach testing the dynamics and methodology of family group benchmarking activity, the process has been streamlined, guidance/training has been produced to support family groups, and a more comprehensive schedule of family group benchmarking activity going forward has now been planned to embed benchmarking across all service areas where there is not already existing benchmarking activity. The schedule for the next year of family group benchmarking activity is set out below.
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The current phase of benchmarking activity covering Sports Services, Council Tax, Waste Management and Looked After Children is now underway. The Improvement Service will continue to work with these family groups providing support and ensuring that learning and good practice is shared with everyone.