Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel publishes letter to DCLG

Published: Friday, 4th August 2017

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel today published a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government reporting on Birmingham City Council's improvement progress

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel today published a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, reporting on Birmingham City Council’s improvement progress since February 2017.

The Improvement Panel’s letter draws on the Council’s own progress report Priorities, persistence, progress also published today which is described by the Panel as a credible account of the Council’s current position, recent developments and future plans.

In its letter the Panel comments favourably on the recent interim appointments to the Council’s senior management. The new Interim Chief Executive and Interim Chief Finance Officer have considerable experience of achieving improvement and turnaround. The Panel also welcomes the Leader of the Council’s clear commitment to decisive and timely action to confront the risks that the Council still faces.

Commenting on the Panel’s report the Chair, John Crabtree, said

‘Our assessment overall is that the Council’s broad direction of travel is positive and prospects for improvement are good. However, the Council recognises that it still faces many significant risks and challenges, as well as opportunities. These include the delivery of challenging revenue budgets for 2017/18 and future years and the implementation of the Council’s future operating model.

In the light of recent positive developments, but also in the context of the continuing risks and challenges the Panel has suggested to the Secretary of State that it should suspend its current operation with only the Vice Chair and the Panel’s adviser staying in touch with the Council.

The Council has agreed to produce a further progress report in December 2017 and there will be a more in-depth review and public report about the Council’s overall position and progress within twelve months.’

ENDS

For further information please contact Louise Wright, PA to John Crabtree, on 07828078227.

 

BACKGROUND

In December 2014 Lord Kerslake published The way forward: an independent review of the governance and organisational capabilities of

Birmingham City Council.

Alongside the recommendations in the Kerslake report relating to action Birmingham City Council should take, Lord Kerslake recommended that the Secretary of State appoint an Independent Improvement Panel to work with the council to provide robust challenge and support.

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel formed in January 2015. Its members are John Crabtree OBE (chair), Frances Done CBE (vice chair), Cllr Keith Wakefield OBE (former leader of Leeds City Council), and Steve Robinson (former chief executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council).