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Government control of Doncaster council to end early – Pickles

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council could come out from government control nearly a year ahead of schedule, communities secretary Eric Pickles has revealed.

The local authority, which has been overseen by the DCLG since 2010, was taken over shortly after an Audit Commission report highlighted “serious failings” in its corporate governance.

The DCLG’s intervention which was due to end on 31 July 2015, however, is expected to end in September this year, Pickles revealed to parliament.

But he did state that the running of children’s services, which the government has overseen since 2009, will be subject to an intervention transferring responsibility for those services away from the council to an independent trust.

“This intervention is designed to deliver sustainable improvements in children’s social care in Doncaster, addressing the long-standing serious weaknesses in those services,” he said.

Pickles highlighted that in June this year the Local Government Association undertook a peer review of the council. “That review has now reported, concluding that the council’s performance has materially improved, both politically and managerially, and that the council is no longer an outlier in terms of the performance expected of a local authority, except with regard to children’s services,” he said.

“In these circumstances I am proposing to end the statutory corporate intervention as soon as the trust [for children’s services] is fully up and running, which I expect to be by the end of September.”

Image: ‘Doncaster Skyline’ by Harleyamber (Creative Commons)

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