Aerial view of Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Council’s extended Best Value Notice

Middlesbrough Council has been issued an extension to its Best Value Notice by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing Communities, reflecting the work that it has undertaken in the last year.

A Best Value Notice was put in place in January 2023, with the government concerned about the council’s ability to comply with its Best Value Duty from the Local Government Act 1999 and saw the Levelling Up Department requesting that the council engages to provide certain assurances.

Graphic outlining the targets for Middlesbrough council

Since the notice was established, the council has collaborated with the Department to bring in a number of measures that can address the concerns that the government has. As such, the government has thanked the council, whilst also acknowledging that further work needs to be done. Some of the areas where further improvements can be made include:

  • Financial sustainability
  • Transformation delivery
  • Effectively implementing new strategies for positive cultures

Considering the work that has been done, alongside the improvements that are still yet to be made, the Minister for Local Government has made the decision to issue a revised, extended Best Value Notice. This notice will be in place for six months, after which the Department will make a decision on its reissuing.

Over the course of the next six months, Middlesbrough Council is expected to meet a number of targets. The first of these targets will see the council continuing to work with the Independent Improvement Board that was set up in Middlesbrough to support improvement within the council. The council will also be expected to work towards securing financial recovery and sustainability by working alongside the government. It is hoped that this will come together in the council setting a balanced budget for the three-year period to 2026/27. Alongside these, the council has been set a target of continuing its improvement efforts in other areas.

In response to the extended notice, Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke told Public Sector Executive:

“I’ve been in the role for almost nine months now and we’ve been working hard on solving problems from the past.

“I had a very productive call with the minister earlier this week and it’s really encouraging to see that the updated notice reflects the progress the Council has made.

“We’re working incredibly hard with the Independent Improvement Advisory Board, the Local Government Association and DLUHC to respond properly to all the concerns.

“Governance and demonstrating value for money is absolutely fundamental to all public bodies. We know what still needs to be done and we won’t be taking our eye off the ball.”


Image credit: iStock


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