The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has today (10 June 2021) appointed independent commissioners to oversee improvements at Liverpool City Council.
Interventions of this kind are extremely rare and underline the severity of the failings at Liverpool City Council and the need ensure that the council can continue to deliver vital services for the people of Liverpool.
In March an independent report uncovered multiple serious failures by Liverpool City Council in complying with its Best Value Duty.
The independent report uncovered a deeply concerning picture of mismanagement, which included serious failures of governance, a lack of scrutiny and regard of public funds, and a culture of intimidation at the council.
Following consideration of the council’s response to the report, the Secretary of State has appointed a team of independent experts to support the council in implementing rapid and far-reaching changes.
The council will continue to make most of the day-to-day decisions, however the commissioners will have the power to intervene, if they are dissatisfied with the council’s improvement.
The commissioners, due to be in place until June 2024, will drive forward the council’s action plan, updating the Secretary of State every 6 months on progress.
The commissioners will be led by Mike Cunningham QPM, an experienced leader and former Chief Constable with a 30-year career in policing. He will be supported by an expert team with a proven record in local government, leadership and delivering cultural change.
The Local Government Secretary has today also confirmed his intention that Liverpool City Council will move to all-out elections from 2023 onwards, providing stability to Liverpool’s local democracy during this period of significant change.
Going forward, the city mayoral and council elections will take place in the same year every 4 years, allowing the council to focus on longer term strategic change and providing a higher degree of accountability and scrutiny.
Mr Jenrick today also reaffirmed his commitment to work closely with the political, the business and the cultural leadership of the city and with the wider region, including with Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
The decision to intervene is not one I have taken lightly, and it reflects the severity of the failings at Liverpool City Council.
The people of Liverpool have been let down badly. They need to know that public funds are being managed properly. A major change is required to give this great city the civic leadership it deserves and the credibility and respect required to attract investment.
I am thankful to Tony Reeves for setting the council on the path to improvement. I am hopeful that, working alongside these commissioners, the council, led by Mayor Joanne Anderson, can continue to implement rapid and far-reaching changes.
Mike Cunningham QPM, Lead Commissioner said:
As someone who grew up in the Liverpool area I am honoured to have been appointed by the Secretary of State as lead commissioner for the government’s intervention at Liverpool City Council.
I will be part of a wider commissioner team that will support the council as it continues its improvement journey to better serve the people of Liverpool.
I am looking forward to starting this important work which will include providing regular updates on progress to the Secretary of State