Myers appointed as lead commissioner in Rotherham

26 Feb 15

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has appointed Sir Derek Myers, former chief executive of Hammersmith and Fulham and the Kensington and Chelsea London boroughs, to lead the government’s intervention into Rotherham council.

Pickles updated MPs today on plans to suspend executive functions at the authority following a review by Louise Casey, which found the authority was not fit for purpose. He said he would intervene as the council was not meeting its best value duties

Myers, who has also chaired the government’s Service Transformation Challenge Panel, will act as the lead commissioner, with former chief executive of Coventry and West Berkshire councils Stella Manzie taking the role of the managing director commissioner.

The team also includes children’s services troubleshooter Malcolm Newsam as commissioner with responsibility for children’s social care. Former Greenwich council chief Mary Ney and businesswomen and UK Commission for Employment and Skills commissioner Julie Kenny are also on the team.

Pickles set out the wide-ranging intervention following Casey’s report last month, which concluded the council remained in ‘resolute denial’ of the child sexual exploitation in the borough and was failing to protect children and young people from harm.

He told MPs today that specific measures in the intervention included the commissioners exercising all the authority’s executive functions and certain others, in particular all licensing functions.

They will also have responsibility for appointing the authority’s three statutory officers, and the council will be required to prepare and implement improvement and action plans to deliver improvements in governance, leadership and culture, including overview and scrutiny.

The council will be required to comply with any instructions of the commissioners in relation to these functions, with the intervention likely to last until the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

Pickles said it was encouraging the council had wholly accepted Casey’s conclusions in the report and was welcoming the appointment of commissioners.

‘Though it is a difficult decision to undertake such a broad central intervention, I am clear that these exceptional circumstances, in which the people of Rotherham have been so profoundly let down by their authority, call for such action.

‘I am confident that the measures which I and my right honourable friend the education secretary are taking today will rejuvenate and improve local governance in Rotherham, restoring the faith local people can have in their council.’

Pickles also confirmed that he would make an order under the Local Government Act 2000 to move the council to holding all-out elections from 2016.


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