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Government commissioners sent into bankrupt Northamptonshire council

Government-backed commissioners have been sent in to improve operations at the struggling Northamptonshire County Council.

Tony McArdle and Brian Roberts are the two commissioners put in place by communities secretary James Brokenshire at the county council until 2021 who will report to the secretary of state every three months.

They will take over the council’s functions associated with governance and scrutiny, appointment of statutory officers, and strategic financial management.

This comes after the financially bankrupt council was forced to sell its brand-new Angel Square HQ to avoid “far more service cuts” last month, and after the leader of the council resigned March following calls from central government for the council to be split up.

McArdle, a former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council, will lead the revamp of the council whilst Roberts, a former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire County Council, will assist McArdle in running the finances of the authority.

Northamptonshire County Council, the district and borough councils and voluntary organisations have all supported the appointment of commissioners.

Brokenshire said actions of this nature are rare but he “cannot ignore the scale of problems” facing Northamptonshire.

He said: “It is essential residents are able to have faith in their council, particularly in the responsible use of taxpayers’ money.

“That’s why I’m taking swift action by appointing commissioners who carry with them a wealth of experience. I am confident they will dedicate themselves to the task at hand.”

Simon Edwards, director of the County Councils Network, said: "The County Councils Network welcomes the appointment of both Tony and Brian as commissioners at Northamptonshire County Council; both know local government inside out and have proven themselves at successfully transforming the governance, organisation and financial management of local authorities in their previous roles.

"With their support Northamptonshire will be able to continue its journey to returning the authority to financial health."

 Image Credit: Lovattpics, iStock images

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