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Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel publishes its final report to the Secretary of State

Published: Tuesday, 2nd April 2019

After four years the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel has produced its final report to the Secretary of State.

The panel’s final assessment of the council’s improvement journey has now been published alongside the Council’s own self-assessed stocktake report and corporate governance improvement plan which set out its service transformation and improvement priorities.

Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward said: “As the panel stands down and we move onto the next important stage in our improvement journey, my challenge and the challenge for everyone at Birmingham City Council is to build on the progress made to ensure that we provide the best possible outcomes for our citizens.

“We recognise that there are still challenges ahead around finance, industrial relations and embedding improvement. Given the recommendations of the panel that further independent challenge is required, I look forward to an early conversation with the Secretary of State over what shape that engagement will take.

“It's testament to the hard work and collective determination of staff, management and councillors that we have continued to make progress at what is a very testing time for local government. But the journey does not end here. We will not slow the pace of transformation as we continue to modernise and improve the support and services we provide for the people of Birmingham.”

Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, Dawn Baxendale, said: “This marks the end of a four year improvement journey for the City Council, and we thank the panel for their consistent support. We have made significant progress in improving our relationships with external partners, building a focus on performance and much better control of our finances but challenges remain and there is more work to do.  My focus is now to work with my Officer team and Members to make sure that we do not lose the drive around our improvement.”

The Council has produced its own stocktake report, which was taken to Cabinet 26 March 2019, and has highlighted the steps it has taken towards modernising and improving the way it provides services for residents including:

  • steady improvements to the children’s service over the last few years, resulting in it being judged as Requires Improvement after more than 10 years as Inadequate
  • while homelessness continues to be a significant issue for the city (as it is nationally) by working with partners and commissioning integrated provision we are starting to see improvements, including the first tenancies under Housing First
  • since in-sourcing digital and customer services the contact centre has expanded services offered, shifted a sizeable level of demand to online
  • looking at all options to improve the air quality for Birmingham citizens, including the creation of a Clean Air Zone
  • introducing a new model of care that will enable greater independence and improved outcomes for vulnerable adults

Links to key documents:

2 April 2019 The Panel’s press release - about its final letter and report to the Secretary of State

2 April 2019 The Panel’s letter to the Secretary of State - the Panel’s final assessment of BCC’s progress, with a focus on progress since June 2018. It includes a recommendation to the Secretary of State

2 April 2019 The Panel’s report to the Secretary of State - setting out BCC's progress during the last ten months and the Panel’s conclusions and reflections from its four years in Birmingham

2 April 2019  Auditors report – statutory recommendations – March 2019 produced by Grant Thornton and sets out the latest review of the Council’s financial position, including statutory recommendations

2 April 2019 BCC’s self-assessed stocktake report - March 2019 produced by BCC, it provides the Council’s assessment of its own progress since June 2018

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