Council welcomes Government decision to cancel intervention
Government commissioners won’t be appointed to oversee the running of Nottingham City Council after all, it has emerged.
The council says it welcomes the Government’s decision to continue with the current arrangements in place for overseeing ongoing improvements at the authority rather than appoint commissioners.
The decision means that the Improvement and Assurance Board chaired by Sir Tony Redmond will remain in place to support the council in implementing its “Together for Nottingham” improvement plan.
The Government had previously indicated it was minded to intervene back in June last year, but will instead strengthen the powers of the independent Improvement and Assurance Board (IAB) currently overseeing progress on improvements at the council.
The Government’s announcement follows the council’s own discovery – as part of its ongoing improvement work – that it had unlawfully allocated over £40m of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) funds to its General Fund. It says action is being taken to remedy this issue, including placing funds back in the HRA and bringing the council’s housing management function back in-house.
Council leader, councillor David Mellen, said: “We very much welcome the Government’s decision which reflects that the current arrangements in place are working.
“The council has already made many of the improvements expected of us by the Improvement and Assurance Board and the Government. In particular, we had agreed a balanced budget and medium term financial plan prior to the soaring inflation and energy costs that have affected the finances of households and councils up and down the country – and we are well on the way to balancing the budget for a second year.
“We recognise there is much more work to do to increase the pace of the changes and to put the council on a solid financial footing despite the huge budget pressures we and all councils are facing currently.”
The council’s chief executive, Mel Barrett, said: “We have previously said that our strong preference was to continue working with the Improvement and Assurance Board, with its balance of support and challenge, but that we were committed to working effectively with whatever arrangements Government put in place so that the intervention can be as successful as possible in as short a time as possible.
“We very much welcome the continued involvement of Sir Tony Redmond as chair of the Improvement and Assurance Board. We are committed to working together to address the need to reduce the council’s cost base whilst ensuring that we are providing economic, efficient and effective best value services to the people of Nottingham.”