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Council: Communities Secretary asks for ‘urgent update’

Council: Communities Secretary asks for ‘urgent update’

🕔11.Sep 2017

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, has written to the Improvement Panel seeking an “urgent update” following “significant developments” in Birmingham. 

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel is meeting, at its request, with the leader and deputy leader of the council, John Clancy and Ian Ward, tomorrow (12th September).

READ: Clancy – three days, three possible outcomes

The last update letter from the Improvement Panel to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government recommended that the Panel be suspended following good progress in implementing the Kerslake reforms.

READ: Kerslake Panel to be suspended, direction positive but risks remain

The Panel told the Communities Secretary:

The Leader of the council is demonstrating strong political leadership and is working constructively with the Interim Chief Executive.

The prospects for further improvement are good.

As Chamberlain Files highlighted over a week ago, the 4th August letter had not received a response from Sajid Javid. The Panel was believed to be taking a close interest in recent events at the Council House.

In his letter to Panel chair John Crabtree OBE, Mr Javid says:

Thank you for your letter of 4 August, and for all the work you and your colleagues on the Panel have done in Birmingham over recent months.

Clearly, there have been some significant developments in Birmingham since your last letter which could have major implications for the governance of the Council, and its financial position.

I would therefore be grateful for an urgent update from the Panel on recent events, before I consider what next steps may be appropriate for our work with the City Council.

READ: Clancy – questions of conduct

Any review of the Panel’s assessment of progress, including a full reversal of its suspension recommendation, or further intervention from the Communities Secretary would be a blow to Cllr Clancy whose accession to the leadership was born from a perceived lack of progress by his predecessor, Sir Albert Bore.

Earlier this year, Cllr Clancy exercised what Labour insiders claimed was decisive action in the departure of former council chief executive, Mark Rogers. 

Uppermost in the minds of the Communities Secretary and Panel members are likely be delivery of the current year budget and stability of the senior management team, led by Stella Manzie.

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