National experts praise Council’s progress

Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy

Calderdale Council made “clear and impressive progress” throughout 2023, according to a team of local government experts.

The Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge team returned to the Council in November 2023, to look at action taken since its first visit in February 2023.

The team reviewed progress with the recommendations it had made to the Council in February, which included:

  • Ensuring all staff are focused on transforming the Council, and that transformation is driven by the Council’s values and priorities.
  • Using financial and staff resources wisely to ensure there is capacity and expertise to step up a gear for the next phases of the Council’s ambition.
  • Bringing HR, finance, digital and transformation services together to support the whole Council to transform.
  • Working closely with investors and developers, and making the most of the economic value of Calderdale’s cultural industries.
  • Being confident and clear with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority about what Calderdale needs to make a local, regional and national impact.
  • Continuing to develop work with local voluntary and community organisations to help achieve the Council’s priority to tackle inequalities.

The Council has now published the feedback report from the Peer Challenge team’s visit in November 2023. This praises the Council’s “willingness and drive” to improve, its “clear and impressive progress” and its ambitious approach to transformation.

The report also highlights that:

  • The borough’s Year of Culture 2024 is being “embraced by Calderdale”, “exciting progress [has been] made at a regional and national level in telling the Calderdale story”, and “key partners stand fully behind this exciting time and the ambition to maximise the opportunity”.
  • Appointing a new Council Director of Resources and Transformation role has been welcomed by all, and has aligned people, finance, digital and transformation.
  • Despite the growing challenges facing all local authorities, the Council manages its finances well and can use this strength, combined with its ambition, to make big, bold and difficult decisions now to have future benefits for Calderdale. The Peer Challenge team named the investment in the Piece Hall transformation as an example of where this has worked well in recent years.
  • Adopting the Local Plan, and significantly reducing planning turnaround times by investing in performance improvement, has built stronger relationships with developers. This sends a clear and positive message that Calderdale is ‘open for business’.
  • There is growing confidence in Calderdale’s delivery of projects and ambitions in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The Council shows effective leadership and impact across West Yorkshire, with ambition beyond its own borders and links between local, regional and national priorities. 
  • The Council has strong relationships with local voluntary and community groups. It is important to use these to prioritise and effectively develop the Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy, ensuring all voices are heard and groups can contribute to the Vision for Calderdale and work to reduce inequalities.

Cllr Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council, said:

“2023 was another challenging year for Calderdale and the rest of the country, so it’s heartening to receive such glowing feedback on the significant progress we’ve made. This is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the whole Council, and our work with other organisations and local communities as we unite to reduce inequalities, build thriving towns and places and take climate action.

“What stands out throughout the Local Government Association’s progress report is our level of ambition, learning, creativity and commitment to transform. This shows national confidence in our ability to tackle challenges and build a bright future for all.”

Robin Tuddenham, Chief Executive of Calderdale Council, added:

“This review came at a really important time for Calderdale and the Council. We’re in the ultimate year of the Vision 2024 for Calderdale, about to celebrate the borough’s 50th birthday and our Year of Culture, and building our vision for the next 10 years.

“The recognition shown in the report is evidence that we have a solid foundation and we’re heading in the right direction, with some helpful learning points that we are ready to carry forward from the review. We are optimistic for our future, despite these challenging times for local government.”

The Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge Progress Review report is available at

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