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Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel latest reports

Published: Friday, 24th February 2017

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel reports on the Council's financial plans for 2017/18.

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel today (24 February 2017) published a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, reporting on Birmingham City Council’s financial plans which will be submitted to the Council for approval on 28 February.

The Improvement Panel’s letter draws on two reports from an independent financial review team which provided an assessment of whether the Council’s 2017/18 revenue budget plans were realistic and capable of delivery. The Council faces a challenging financial position following the significant overspend predicted for 2016/17. The Panel comments in its letter that lessons from 2016/17 have been learned and that there is a strong determination to provide the leadership needed to deliver the Council’s latest financial plans. However the Panel draws attention to the considerable risks to delivery of the financial plans.

Commenting on the Panel’s report the Chair, John Crabtree, said: "We are pleased that new financial plans are now in place and these are more robust and credible. The plans and strategies however will not be easy to implement. Some implementation timetables are still extremely ambitious and the risks to achieving fully effective delivery are high."

The Panel intends to report later to the Secretary of State about the Council’s progress in relation to the wider recommendations of Lord Kerslake’s 2014 report.

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).

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