By Marcus Leach

Councillors taking leadership of a local authority for the first time after a change in political control are being offered five days of peer support to help them hit the ground running after this week’s election.

The Local Government Group will make experienced councillors and local authority leaders available to provide five days of mentoring. The support, which is free-of-charge, will be available within the first few weeks of a change of political control. It is part of the LG Group’s new Taking the Lead approach to self regulation.

“These are challenging times for council leaders who need to make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions following cuts to local authority budgets. Even experienced leaders can feel the pressure," Baroness Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the LG Group, said.

“Five days of free-of-charge peer support will help a new leader hit the ground running by offering an invaluable insight into the best ways to build relationships with senior council staff, engage communities and implement a policy agenda.”

The leader of Staffordshire County Council, Cllr Philip Atkins, received 5 days of support when he took office in 2009. He said: “However confident or well planned you may think you are to face the challenges ahead when you take control of the council, you will find it helpful to have someone with experience and a view from outside your own council to offer support and friendly advice on other ways to tackle issues you may not have been aware of.”