Commissioners have been sent in to address serious financial and management failures at Slough Borough Council at the request of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Local Government Minister, Kemi Badenoch, updated the House of Commons last month and said that the Department was minded to intervene in the council after an independent review.
The review uncovered a ‘deeply concerning picture of mismanagement, a breakdown in scrutiny and accountability, and a dysfunctional culture at Slough Borough Council’.
Residents and councillors have voiced their support for government intervention and the proposal to appoint Commissioners.
The authority has also accepted the findings of the review and has agreed to work with Commissioners to make real improvements to its services.
Commenting, Ms Badenoch said:
“There is overwhelming evidence that Slough Borough Council has failed its residents and it is necessary for government to intervene.
“I have appointed experienced commissioners who will start the process of rebuilding confidence and trust between the council, councillors and the communities they serve.”
The Commissioners will be led by Max Caller, who led the best value inspections at Northamptonshire and Liverpool councils and was a Commissioner at Tower Hamlets.
He will be supported by Finance Commissioner, Margaret Lee, former Statutory Finance Officer at Essex County Council and member of the London Borough of Croydon Improvement and Assurance Panel.
The team will immediately take over several functions associated with financial
management and governance after the review concluded the council was failing in its best value duty in these areas.
Mr Caller added:
“We look forward to working with Slough Borough Council, both members and Officers, to help the council come back to high-quality local government where they deliver best value for all their residents.”
The review, published in October, revealed the financial challenge that the council faces, concluding that Slough cannot become financially sustainable without considerable government support.
The government said the Commissioners will play an important role in deciding Slough’s future, including the council’s request for exceptional financial support.
Commissioners will provide a first report within the next three months, with initial views and an assessment of whether they require further support.
Further reports will be provided every six months.
The Commissioners will work collaboratively with the Children’s Services Commissioner, Trevor Doughty, to make sure that these vital services continue to be delivered effectively in line with the council’s statutory duties.
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