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Rogers warns of ‘Government intervention’ if council ignores Kerslake

Rogers warns of ‘Government intervention’ if council ignores Kerslake

🕔05.Nov 2015

Birmingham city council chief executive Mark Rogers has warned the Government could intervene further in the running of the local authority if the Kerslake Review reforms are not delivered.

In a letter to staff Mr Rogers comments on the latest letter from the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel to Local Government Secretary Greg Clark, which says that the city council is “at a crossroads” and the culture change demanded by Kerslake is not yet in place.

While admitting the content of the letter was expected, Mr Rogers points to the next public meeting of the panel on December 14, where the new leader of the city council will be quizzed.

After the meeting the panel chair John Crabtree will write a progress report to Mr Clark.

Mr Rogers said:

This letter will be the most important one yet, as it will determine whether or not we’ve made sufficient progress to avoid any further forms of intervention by central government.

He does not specify the form of intervention likely, but it is possible Mr Clark may be forced to send in Government commissioners to run the council directly – effectively sacking the cabinet and leader – if progress on the Kerslake agenda does not speed up.

The panel meeting will be a major test for whoever takes over from Sir Albert Bore as council leader.

There are five candidates – John Clancy, Ian Ward, Barry Henley, Mike Leddy and Penny Holbrook.

In his message to staff Mr Rogers says:

The panel is very clear that whoever’s elected as the new leader of the council will have a demanding first few months.

They must play a crucial role in driving and delivering continued improvement, complete the budget-setting already in train, and demonstrate to our citizens the council is committed to reinventing itself.

The panel recognises we’ve made some good progress in a number of key areas – which is very welcome feedback. But the main focus of the letter is on the need for us to continue to demonstrate positive change, and to increase the pace of improvement – irrespective of all the current uncertainties that are facing us.

I think we all expected this letter from the panel would say that some things are better, but that we still have much more to do. With this I mind, I want to thank you all for your hard work and commitment to Birmingham and its people, whilst also making it clear that we must continue to rise to the many and varied challenges that still lie ahead.

In terms of future assessment of progress, we’ll publish a report in December that sets out how we’ve implemented the Kerslake recommendations, the differences we’ve made, and how we’ll continue to change as an organisation.

Mr Rogers, who has been in post since March 2014, warns that “tough and interesting times” lie ahead for everyone at the council.

He adds:

In return for the continued commitment to Birmingham you’ve already demonstrated, I wanted to reassure you of mine.

When I arrived, a year and eight months ago, I knew that I was facing the most exciting but most difficult job I’ve ever had. And this has certainly proved to be the case.

However, I’m as determined now as I was then to play my part in meeting the challenges head on: and I need you to do so, too.

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