Kerslake launches wide-ranging review into Birmingham governance

5 Sep 14

Sir Bob Kerslake has today launched the first stage of his inquiry into the future of Birmingham City Council that will examine the financial sustainability of the UK’s largest local authority and consider whether it should be broken up.

Kerslake today issued a call for evidence at the start of his review into the operation, culture and structure of corporate governance at the authority. He also announced members of an advisory panel to assist his work, which include Carolyn Downs, chief executive of the Local Government Association and Sir Steve Houghton, the leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

On July 22, council leader Sir Albert Bore and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced that Kerslake, the permanent secretary at Department for Communities and Local Government, would conduct a review.

It is intended to look at the structure and size of Birmingham City Council, as well as the clarity of strategic leadership and direction and the managerial capacity to deliver the council’s priorities. The ability of the authority to undertake financial planning and the sustainability in the medium and long term will also be considered.

Kerslake’s final report, which is expected by the end of the year, will also take into account the findings of other recent reviews into provision by the council, including the so-called Trojan Horse review into local schools and reviews into children’s services by Julian Le Grand and Lord Warner.

Speaking ahead of the first of his weekly visits to Birmingham today, Kerslake said it was vital to ensure that all the city’s residents can share in its economic prosperity. This requires strong civic leadership, effective governance and excellent delivery by the council, he added.

‘This is very much an open call for evidence and I’m keen to hear from as many individuals, institutions and organisations as possible to inform the review and its final recommendations.’

Respondents to the consultation are urged to email kerslakereview@communities.gsi.gov.uk

The full advisory panel is:
• Deborah Cadman, chief executive, Suffolk County Council
• Carolyn Downs, chief executive, Local Government Association
• Councillor Sir Steve Houghton (Labour, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council)
• Councillor Mehboob Khan (Political Advisor at the Local Government Association for London boroughs, Mayor of London’s office and Westminster / Labour, Kirklees Council)
• Joanne Roney, OBE (chief executive, Wakefield Council)
• Councillor David Simmonds (Conservatives, Hillingdon London Borough Council)
• Councillor Howard Sykes (Liberal Democrats, Oldham Council)

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