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Members of Birmingham CC improvement panel named

The government has named the members of the independent improvement panel being sent in to help Birmingham City Council improve how it delivers ‘vital reforms’ to deliver better services for local residents.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles named John Crabtree OBE, a former High Sheriff of the West Midlands and former president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as the chairman of the independent improvement panel.

The panel is charged with supporting the council as it pursues the reforms the city needs, in particular making sure it delivers against the recommendations made in the recent Kerslake report, which exposed a series of ‘deep rooted’ and serious problems holding the city and council back from “achieving their potential”.

Pickles said: “It is essential now that the city council makes rapid progress if it is to serve the people and businesses of Birmingham as it should. I am confident the panel I have appointed will help achieve this.”

Crabtree will be joined on the panel by vice-chairman Frances Done, a former managing director for Local Government, Housing and Criminal Justice at the Audit Commission; Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council; and Steve Robinson, chief executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council .

The appointments have been agreed with Birmingham City Council. The authority’s leader, Sir Albert Bore, said: “We have now had time to reflect on the report and begun to take steps to address the issues identified. We are producing a comprehensive improvement plan, working across the political spectrum and with our external partners.

“I am pleased that the secretary of state consulted me on the membership of the panel, and welcome the appointments that have been made. These are challenging times for the city council but we are determined to play our part in the ongoing renaissance of this great city.”

(Image source: Steve N)

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