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Commissioners appointed to take over Sandwell Council functions

Commissioners have been appointed at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, taking over a number of key functions to implement positive and far-reaching changes at the council.

The newly-appointed commissioners, led by Kim Bromley-Derry CBE DL, the current interim Chief Executive at the council, will take over functions associated with governance and scrutiny of strategic decision-making in Sandwell.

Supported by colleague Jim Taylor, former Chief Executive of Salford City Council until his retirement in 2021, the two commissioners have been appointed based on a proven record of leadership, transformation and strong governance.

They will work collaboratively with the team at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to deliver the needed improvements.

In a written statement to Parliament, Local Government Minister Kemi Badenoch MP, described the situation: “On 18 January 2022, I announced to the House that the Secretary of State was minded to intervene at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and appoint Commissioners.

“These proposals followed the publication of a Value for Money Governance Review by external auditor, Grant Thornton, issued to [Sandwell Council] on 3 December 2021.

“The Governance Review paints a deeply troubling picture of mismanagement and of ineffective scrutiny and accountability arrangements. While the Review recognises the recent progress made under the Interim Chief Executive, it also notes how, historically, senior officers and members have been unable to make the changes required to move away from the past.

“While the Secretary of State is encouraged by the “green shoots” of progress described in the Report, his view is that the risk of progress stalling or slowing is significant.

“He believes the proposed intervention is necessary and expedient to secure compliance with the best value duty.”

The commissioners have been appointed for two years, from March 22, 2022, until March 22, 2024.

Kim Bromley-Derry has more than 35 years of public sector experience to his name, including 8 years as Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham. He also served as Director of Children’s Services at both the London Borough of Newham and South Tyneside Council, and a Children’s Services Director at Leicester City Council.

Kim was appointed Interim Chief Executive of Sandwell Council in August 2021.

Jim Taylor served for six years as Chief Executive of Salford City Council prior to his retirement in 2021. He also fulfilled the role of Interim Chief Executive of Trafford Borough Council simultaneously from July 2018 to February 2019.

The commissioners will be asked to provide their first report within the next three months. Further reports will be provided every six months, or as agreed with the commissioners.

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