City Council’s scrutiny panel to be suspended

The scrutiny panel that has been in place for more than two years to hold Birmingham City Council accountable after the damning Kerslake report is to step back.

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel has recommended to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid that “it should suspend its current operation”.

The move is a reaction to “recent positive developments”, which are being led by a new senior management team at the council and “strong political leadership”.

“Our assessment overall is that the Council’s broad direction of travel is positive and prospects for improvement are good,” said the Panel’s chairman, John Crabtree.

“However, the Council recognises that it still faces many significant risks and challenges, as well as opportunities. These include the delivery of challenging revenue budgets for 2017/18 and future years and the implementation of the Council’s future operating model.”

The Panel highlighted “the highly experienced capacity and capability in the current management team”, of which four of the seven are interim appointments.

They include chief executive Stella Manzie and chief financial officer Mike O’Donnell, who both joined earlier this year.