Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel to step down
After four years the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel is to step down at the end of this month (March 2019).
The final stocktake report, providing the final assessment of the council’s improvement journey, has now been published alongside the Corporate Governance Improvement Plan and updates on service transformation and improvement priorities for 2019/20, as part of a report to cabinet on 26 March.
Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward said: "Our improvement journey continues and it's testament to the hard work and collective determination of staff, management and councillors that we have continued to make progress at a very testing time for local government.
"This has always been about ensuring we provide the best possible outcomes for our citizens. We have made a number of steps towards modernising and improving the way we provide services for residents and have delivered on our commitments in the last stocktake report.
"I've said many times in recent months that this city has entered a golden decade - a period that will shape the lives of that next generation of young Birmingham citizens.
"Our challenge now is to ensure that the people of Birmingham reap the rewards of regeneration, investment, HS2 and of course the Commonwealth Games. We will continue to work hard to deliver our vision for the city as a whole and ensure all communities and sectors share in Birmingham’s success."
We have made a number of steps towards modernising and improving the way we provide services for residents:
- Ageing Well – we are introducing a new model of care that will enable greater independence and improved outcomes for vulnerable adults
- Children’s social care – there have been steady improvements to the service over the last few years, resulting in it being judged as Requires Improvement after more than 10 years as Inadequate
- Homelessness – this continues to be a significant issue for the city as it is nationally, but by working with partners and commissioning integrated provision we are starting to see improvements, including the first tenancies under Housing First
- Digital and customer services – since its in-sourcing, the contact centre has expanded services offered, shifted a sizeable level of demand to online
- We are working with partners to promote independence for our older adults, seeking to reduce the number who need long-term residential care
- We want a ‘virtuous circle’ where people are supported to develop skills and behaviours that allow them to succeed in the future workforce, whilst ensuring businesses invest in young people. As a broker and influencer, the city council will be central to this
- We are creating a Clean Air Zone to address the significant harm done by poor air quality
The stocktake report makes clear that, while the improvement journey continues, the council is aware of the scale of the ongoing challenge, particularly around finance and industrial relations. An independent review of waste services has been commissioned and a new industrial relations framework, working with local trades unions and supported by UK Core Cities, will be developed.
The report acknowledges there are ongoing risks that require rigorous monitoring and vigilance – such as equal pay, capital investment, and major contract changes - and the council will be actively working with audit, overview and scrutiny and external peers to ensure our improvement is sustainable.
There will be a final analysis from the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel and the council will reflect on that along with any comments from the Secretary of State.