THE full Council Forum meeting of Blackburn with Darwen Council will on Thursday night hear that it has been given good marks by a special review by the Local Government Association.

The authority's lead Cllr Phil Riley gives details of the results of the LGA's corporate peer challenge conducted between July 11 and 14 in a report to councillors.

It says: "It provides an external perspective on the performance of the council and its capacity to deliver on the new corporate plan and priorities.

"The peer review team was very impressed with both the organisation and support they received.

"The report highlights the council as having:

• strong, visible and well respected political and managerial leadership with senior leaders having a clear understanding of Blackburn with Darwen as a place, its opportunities and challenges;

"• high levels of ambition and determination to think big and unlock the borough’s potential including a £1billon vision for the future for investment and commitment to growing the cultural offer with a well-crafted corporate plan;

"• an impressive track record of managing significant challenges including the ongoing reductions in spending power since 2010 with robust financial monitoring arrangements;

"• many examples of projects which are testing new ways of working with an impressive entrepreneurial spirit in the borough;

• clear commitments to tackling inequalities and strengthening equality, diversity and inclusion; and

• a working culture that is very supportive with opportunities for staff.

"We have responded to each of 11 recommendations."

The report also makes recommendations for improvement including enhancing public consultation and engagement on the budget to build understanding of the challenges ahead and the savings needed; reducing and prioritising strategies in support of the council’s core missions; giving a greater focus on transformation and how it will lead to measurable improvements; ensuring the narrative relating to regeneration schemes including showing how they improve the lives of residents; and increasing effective scrutiny.