Commissioners’ second report published – read the headlines and Liverpool City Council’s statement

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has published the Commissioners’ second report into Liverpool City Council.

It was written in early June, so does not reflect some of the most recent improvements and changes in the organisation.

The Commissioners team – led by Mike Cunningham – with colleagues Joanna Killian, Neil Gibson and Deborah McLaughlin – acknowledge the council has achieved some important tactical milestones through the hard work of officers, but are recommending further intervention.

Their concerns include:

  • The council’s financial situation
  • Gaps in workforce capacity and capability
  • Decision making
  • Risk management
  • Managerial leadership

They are recommending:

  • Appointing a commissioner with finance expertise
  • Commissioner approval for senior appointments
  • Commissioners to have a role in the performance appraisal for Chief Executive and staff who report to them

Priorities for the organisation for the immediate future:

  • Putting in place a fully costed plan for restructuring (within nine months)
  • Develop a workforce plan (within six months)
  • Design and embed a new audit model (within 12 months)

Read the full report here

Recent changes since June 2022 include:

  • Introduced a thorough and robust approach to monitoring and managing procurement and contracts, gained a grip across the council.
  • On track to put in place robust plans to drastically improve income collection.
  • Increased capacity and expertise appointed in finance and property which is already delivering increased pace and improvement, addressing key areas raised in the commissioners report.
  • Progress being made on the recommendations on workforce plans, the restructure and culture change – we are committed to being an employer where everyone can thrive, feel confident and valued.
  • Responding to the customer complaints review which will see improved response times and issues resolved quicker.

Secretary of State Greg Clark has announced the setting up of a Liverpool Strategic Futures Panel, to guide the city’s improvements.

It will be chaired by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and supported by political and business leaders.

In response, Mayor Joanne Anderson, said: “Naturally, I am extremely disappointed with today’s report.

“A huge amount of work has been taking place over the last 12 months to change the systems, processes and culture of the organisation.

“It is not an overnight fix, and the report is no reflection on the hard work and teams and individuals across the organisation.

“This report dates from June, and since then there has been further progress, particularly around the management of, and commissioning of, contracts.

“This is a complex and challenging journey, and there will be bumps in the road along the way.

“On the frontline, every day our staff are making a difference to the lives of residents, whether that is keeping adults and children safe, maintaining the roads or improving our neighbourhoods.

“The Cabinet and I, along with the senior management team, are determined to turn this organisation around and deliver best value and social value for our residents.”

“I welcome the Liverpool Strategic Futures Panel, which will be chaired by the City Region’s Metro Mayor, ensuring that Liverpool’s future remains in Liverpool’s hands.

“The panel brings together local government experts with national experience who really understand the problems we are facing, and, most importantly, people who live, work in, and understand our city, adding a layer of local transparency to our improvement journey.

“However, I do feel hopeful. The commissioners’ report was written nearly three months ago, and we have already seen improvements in many areas since then, as well as appointing a new interim chief executive who has an impressive track record of delivery.

“Like any organisation, we need stability and patience whilst we embed the positive changes that have already been made.

“We care immensely for our city and its people, and we are determined to get this right.”

The next step is for the council to provide a response to the Secretary of State on the recommendation for further intervention

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