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Liverpool commissioners release third report into city council

12 months ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Liverpool commissioners release third report into city council

Commissioners say “there is now cause for cautious optimism for the improvement journey of the Council”

The Commissioners – who are at the halfway stage of their three-year intervention – says that the Council’s political and officer leadership “have shown grip and determination to improve at pace”, and they now have “cautious optimism for the improvement journey”. 

There is praise for the work of Mayor Joanne Anderson and her Cabinet, as well as for the work of the interim Chief Executive Theresa Grant, who was appointed last August.

Lead Commissioner, Mike Cunningham, said: 

“We are pleased to announce that our third report on the intervention at Liverpool City Council has been published today.

“This report represents a positive shift in the progress the Council are making in their improvement journey.

“Although challenges and risks to continued improvement remain, we are cautiously optimistic that the current positive trajectory will continue.

“We will work closely with the new permanent Chief Executive, Andrew Lewis, to help mitigate some of the challenges ahead.”

In a letter to the Secretary of State Michael Gove, the Commissioners have reported that:

  • Officers have developed credible options, at pace, to meet the significant budget gap. The Mayor and Cabinet have shown commendable political leadership to take the difficult decisions necessary to set a balanced budget.
  • The Council has a more corporate approach to senior decision-making, with a robust forward look, and with silo-working now diminishing. The senior leadership team is committed to open communication with staff.
  • A new organisational structure has been agreed to improve capacity and capability, and progress is being made on recruitment.
  • A robust transformation programme has been established and is working to reduce costs and improve the quality of services.
  • Tactical improvements are starting to show, such as the: increased income collection, reduced lease renewal backlog and an audit plan now in place.

However, they caution that the following risks still require close management:

  • The change in political leadership with a change of governance model and all-out elections to new boundaries.
  • Changes to the Senior Leadership Team including the appointment of a new Chief Executive and a new Corporate Director of Finance.
  • Budget decision-making and implementation alongside a Council-wide transformation programme.
  • That service areas subject to intervention are stable.
  • Culture change, which requires sustained engagement from staff at all levels of the organisation.

The report concludes: “While not certain, if the leadership maintains the focus, energy and commitment observed in recent months, we have confidence the required progress will be made.”

Andrew Lewis is set to start as the Council’s permanent Chief Executive in June 2023, and senior appointments have recently been made in the City Development team as part of a restructure of the top team.

You can read the full report HERE.

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