Each year the LGA Independent Group Executive agrees the number of Regional Peers and the allocation of days to them, based on the allocation made to the Group by the LGA, which is based on proportionality.
The members who are appointed as Peers play a vital role in ensuring that members of the Independent Group are supported, particularly when facing challenges or taking on new responsibilities. Peers are often the first point of contact for queries from members. They also take part in corporate improvement activity and officer/member development sessions.
It is important that members representing the Independent Group across all of the relevant structures do so in a consistent and effective manner, on behalf of the whole Group.
This Performance Protocol has been put together with the Group Leader and National Lead Peer to enable the Independent Group Executive to set out its clear expectations of appointees and to monitor performance throughout the year.
In accepting an appointment, members are agreeing to act within the key principles set out below and deliver the monitoring outcomes.
The National Lead Peer will review the performance of representatives against this protocol on a regular basis and where necessary will challenge individuals that fall below the expected performance standards. The National Lead Peer regularly updates the Executive on peer activity, including that of our Regional Leads.
If members bring the Group or LGA into disrepute or do not fulfil their role, the Group Executive have the final say on whether members continue in post.
Councillors appointed as Regional Peers on behalf of the Independent Group are required to operate in accordance with the member code of conduct of their home local authority. In addition appointees are expected to abide by the following principles:
- Demonstrate and promote the values of the LGA Independent Group – Integrity, Challenge, Collaboration and Responsiveness and the Group’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Deliver positive and reliable support to members within your region, respecting the importance of confidentiality and professionalism
- Explore and consider each issue on its merits informed by research and evidence
- Effectively work as a team, with peer colleagues from all Political Groups, Regional Officer Teams and the Group Office
- Encourage and foster positive engagement with all councillors
- Take advantage of opportunities to continually develop the knowledge and skill set required as a Peer, for example mentoring skills.
Appointees are expected to contribute the below as part of their role within the LGA’s calendar year, which runs from 1 September to 31 August.
- Respect Member confidentiality
- Use all Peer days allocated to you (those unused will be carried over)
- Proactively and regularly engage with members in your region so they are aware of your role and the support you can provide, particularly Council, Opposition and Group leaders
- Respond quickly and thoroughly to inquiries
- Work with the Group Office, Principal Advisors and other Regional Peers (within and outside of our Group) to ensure support for members is delivered as swiftly and seamlessly as possible;
- Ensure all allocated peer days are used before seeking agreement for additional work, including corporate opportunities, such as mentoring or CPCs
- Attend regional meetings and other regional forums
- Submit up to date logs as requested. If two peer logs are missed, the Peer may be asked to step down
- Update your Peer Profile regularly to ensure it is as up to date as possible
- Attend Peer meetings, scheduled approximately four times a year
- Attend Peer related conferences and contribute to these as required
- Contribute to the Group’s Annual Report, if requested
Claiming hours from your allocation
- Each Regional Peer is allocated a number of days (based on an 8 hour day) for which they receive a monthly payment. This payment is based on all allocated hours being used by the end of the year.
- If there are allocated hours unused in one year, peers will be required to carry these forward to the following year (to be used within three months) as payment for them has already been received
- Peer work that comes from the allocated hours includes
- Any proactive engagement you carry out as a Peer, e.g. emails, phone calls, attending regional or local group meetings
- Any queries you respond to as a Peer that come through the Group Office or directly from Councillors, including any research or preparation time
- Any mentoring you provide on an adhoc basis
- Peer group meetings.
- Peer work that cannot be claimed from your allocated hours includes
- Attendance at Peer Conference, Group or LGA Annual Conference unless specifically requested or asked to attend as a Peer and sufficient peer work is carried out. All events that may include peer work should be discussed with the Head of Group Office in advance.
- Work allocated to you corporately or regionally should fall into your allocated allowance if you have not or are unlikely to use all of your allocated hours by the end of August, for example CPCs and longer term mentoring. If more hours are required, please discuss with the Head of Group Office before claiming. If in doubt hold off claiming additional hours until towards the end of the year
Claiming additional hours – central pot
- Sometimes there is a central pot of peer days held by the group office, if there is additional provision likely to be needed which falls out of regional activity
- Additional days should only be claimed from this pot in agreement with the National Lead Peer and Head of Group Office.
- Any regional or corporate requests that do not come through the Group Office but directly to Peers should be discussed with the Head of Group Office before any claim is made.
- There will be a separate form and code for additional hours, which you should receive from the relevant team, or via the group office.