BIIP publishes latest assessment of city council’s progress

BIIP letter to Rt Hon Greg Clark MP 11 Jan

Statement from the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel today published a letter to the
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, reporting on the
progress the Council has made in implementing the recommendations of the
Kerslake Report in the twelve months since the report’s publication.

The letter follows the publication of the Council’s December progress report which
outlines the Council’s own assessment of its progress in that period. In the letter the
Chair of the Improvement Panel, John Crabtree, notes that the new leader of the City
Council, Cllr John Clancy, has made a clear public commitment to increase the pace
of improvement, to be more outward looking and collaborative with the Council’s
external partners and to ensure that the Council operates in a much more open and
transparent way.

The letter also draws attention to the huge challenge facing the City Council in
relation to the development and implementation of its long term financial strategy.
The Council is facing cumulative budget reductions of around £250m per annum
over the next four financial years.

Commenting on the Panel’s report to the Secretary of State John Crabtree said,
‘The December progress report shows the Council’s own assessment of its progress
over the last twelve months. It also acknowledges that there is a great deal more to
be done to meet the scale of the challenge it faces. Following the change of council
leadership the Panel now expects to see a significant step up in the rate of progress.
In particular in the next two months the Council will need to be able to demonstrate
that the long term financial strategy is both realistic and deliverable.’

In the letter the Panel commends Cllr Clancy’s decision to confirm the existing
Cabinet members in post and notes that, in the context of the major task of
implementing the budget reduction proposals across council services, continued
stability in the Cabinet’s membership for at least the remainder of the municipal year
will be very important.

Following a decision by the Secretary of State in September 2015 the Panel’s remit
was extended until the end of March 2016 and its next report to him will be made at
the end of March.

Note. The Council’s December progress report can be accessed here –

http://birminghamnewsroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Progress_Report_Dec_2015_v2.pdf

ENDS

For further information please contact Lucie Perrins PA to John Crabtree
Mobile 07787 522003

BACKGROUND

In December 2014 Lord Kerslake published The way forward: an
independent review of the governance and organisational capabilities of
Birmingham City Council. Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council
and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had asked
Lord Kerslake to conduct the independent review.
Alongside the recommendations in the Kerslake report relating to action
Birmingham City Council should take, Lord Kerslake recommended that the
Secretary of State appoint an independent improvement Panel to work with the
Council to provide robust challenge and support.
The Improvement Panel was set up in January 2015. Its members are John
Crabtree OBE (chair), Frances Done CBE (vice chair), Cllr Keith Wakefield
(former leader of Leeds City Council), and Steve Robinson (chief executive of
Cheshire West and Chester Council). Sir Mike Tomlinson, as a
children’s services commissioner for Birmingham, is an ex-officio member.
Andrew Christie, recently appointed by the DfE as children’s services commissioner
for Birmingham, has also joined the Panel as an ex officio member.

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