From toxic to award winning in a couple of years!

Thanet District Council has received resounding endorsement from its former Improvement Board, with the independent Chair stating that: “The Council is now in a tremendous position - from toxic to award winning in a couple of years is some achievement for all involved."

Ian Lowrie, former chief executive of Adur District Council & Worthing Borough Council said that the achievements of Thanet District Council would be the “envy of many (even most) district councils in the land.”

In a letter to the Leader and Chief Executive, he made the following remarks about the council:

  • “An organisational response to the ideas, initiatives and strategies suggested by the improvement process that is highly impressive and well joined up.”
  • “Strong and measured leadership from Cllr Wells.”
  • “A fresh and highly competent officer team, led well by Madeline Homer. It is a reflection of the area’s potential that such strong candidates were attracted to Thanet.”
  • “How each aspect of the new strategies concluded with recognition of the issued faced and the way in which next steps will be addressed. This tells us that what has happened is a dynamic process and not something that will sit on the shelf never to be looked at again.”

Cllr Wells, Leader of Thanet District Council, said:

“From the outset of this process, we have been committed to cross party working to improve the way we work. The fact that the independent Chair of an Improvement Board, with significant local government expertise, has nothing but praise for the council is testament to the hard work of everyone involved. We are grateful to all those who took part, especially the external peers and advisors who gave up their time and huge credit must go to officers who have transformed this council. Whilst considerable progress has been made, we know there is still lots to be done as we continue on our improvement journey for Thanet.”

Cllr Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said:

“Engaging with third parties to learn and grow is an important exercise and it was a pleasure to serve on Thanet’s Improvement Board and bring some of my experiences to the table. In spite of political differences, we were all working towards a common goal and it’s very pleasing to see the significant progress made by Thanet District Council.” 

 Cllr Matterface, Labour Group Leader remarked that:

“Leaders of other parties and their groups have gone out of their way to build on the work started in April 2014.”


Notes to editors

Peer Review is a voluntary process offered by the LGA which aims to benefit councils through constructive feedback from peers in other local authorities. One third of councils in the UK have undergone this process since 2011.

The LGA’s Peer Review team, made up of Councillors and senior officers from other councils, initially visited in March 2014 to better understand the organisation and provide suggestions for ways to improve.  

More than 100 Councillors, council staff and external stakeholders, which included community groups, private companies, partner organisations and local press, took park in focus group sessions with the review team.

Following the review, a dedicated Improvement Board was convened to drive forward improvement in the council. The Board was, once again, voluntarily set up by the council with external and internal participants to provide support, guidance and to act as a ‘critical friend’.

The Chair of the Improvement Board was Ian Lowrie, former chief executive of Adur District Council & Worthing Borough Council, prior to retiring in 2011. He was awarded an OBE for his ground-breaking work in local government and is now a consultant for organisations that wish to change and improve the way they work. Other members included:

  • Leader and Deputy Leader of Thanet District Council
  • Leader of main opposition groups
  • Independent Chair of TDC Standards Committee
  • CEO of Thanet District Council
  • Thanet District Council’s Monitoring Officer
  • Three Peer Councillors from different political parties at Medway Council

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