Updated: Apr 7
Following the 'Liverpool City Council Best Value Inspection Report' By Max Caller CBE, The Government Are Set To Intervene
Liverpool City Council, on the 24th March 2021, received correspondence via email from Central Government over the proposed 'intervention package' by The Secretary of State.
In a report into finding the best value for Liverpool City Council taxpayers, it was concluded that the City Council 'failed' to meet the necessary standard for a Local Authority.
'[Liverpool City Council] is failing to comply with the requirements of Part I of the Local Government Act 1999 (the “1999 Act”), namely failing to comply with the Best Value duty in the areas of highways, regeneration and property management' - Director General Frances of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
The investigation is generally referred to as the 'Best Value Report' or the 'Caller Report', named after the report's lead, Max Caller CBE. It was commissioned by Robert Jenrick.
Even with these actions by Central Government, the City of Liverpool Elections will still take place on Thursday 6th May 2021. In which a new City of Liverpool Mayor will be elected alongside the 90 Councillors for the 30 Wards part of Liverpool City Council.
On the 6th of May the City Region will also be electing its Metropolitan Mayor, as well as Councillors for the other areas in the Liverpool City Region.
'the only way to survive was to do what was requested without asking too many questions or applying normal professional standards.' - The Caller Report in regards to Regeneration.
A summary for the primary findings of the report include:
In regards to planning and regeneration, there were failures in which documentation was created retrospectively, destroyed and/or discarded in skips.
An environment of intimidation.
Council-owned companies were governed poorly.
A lack of oversight and scrutiny across highways.
Dysfunctional management practices with no coherent business plan.
The awarding of dubious contracts.
In an oral statement by Robert Jenrick, it was noted that the Caller Report is focusing exclusively on Liverpool City Council. The finds focus particularly on the high level figures in the City Council; including Councillors and practices of former City of Liverpool Mayor and City Council Leader Joe Anderson.
Former Mayor Anderson served as the Leader of Liverpool City Council from 2010 to 2012. He then served as City of Liverpool Mayor from 2012 until the November of 2020, upon his decision to step down after his arrest and a police investigation into corruption, bribery and intimidation. Former Mayor Anderson remains insistent that his is innocent.
The Caller Report is not focusing on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the Councils of the other Boroughs or Mayor Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of Liverpool Metropolitan Area.
Robert Jenrick stated: 'the government will work closely with the political, the business and the cultural leadership of the city and with the wider region, including with Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.'
'The team heard that it could be difficult for Members to challenge at meetings and often the challenging behaviour came from the Mayor and prominent Councillors' - The Caller Report regarding the City Council.
Liverpool City Council has been majority controlled by The Labour Party since 2010, and by the first Directly Elected City Of Liverpool Mayor since 2012.
Furthermore, Robert Jenkins acknowledged the City Council's Chief Executive Tony Reeves for working with them and positively remedying any issues which he was thanked for in name.
The head offices of Liverpool City Council are located in the Cunard Building in The Waterfront District, whilst the Liverpool City Region Authority is housed in No. 1 Mann Island, with the Region's Authority and Mayor being of a different body that is separate of City Council.
Robert Jenrick acknowledges Liverpool's 'independent spirit' and understood that intervention from Central Government would be difficult for residents.
He said: 'As the son and grandson of Liverpudlians I know Liverpool and appreciate the sense of humour, loyalty, and warmth of its residents.'
Jenrick said that he understands the 'city’s independent spirit, and so I am clear that we are embarking on will be a partnership'. He continued that the goal is to 'mend a politics that for too long has been rooted in a pervasive and rotten culture.'
The Secretary of State concluded by saying: 'I am hopeful that this is the start of a new chapter for Liverpool City Council, because in all of this, it is the residents of Liverpool who are being let down, whose regeneration is being undermined, whose taxpayers’ money is being wasted, and whose city is being besmirched rather than cited with municipal pride.'
You can download and read the letters, documents, speech and the Letter from Central Government as PDF files below for ease of access.
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