UK Govt expands ‘intervention’ into Liverpool Council

The UK government said it has expanded its “intervention” into Liverpool City Council “to get the city’s finances back on a stable footing and deliver value for money for the taxpayer.”

Stephen Hughes has been appointed as Finance Commissioner to oversee the council’s financial management.

“New powers for Commissioners over governance, financial decision-making and recruitment have also been announced, to improve the running of the Council,” said the UK government.

“The move comes after the report on the council’s progress revealed serious shortcomings, particularly around financial management and senior leadership.

“It also criticised the slow progress made in driving improvement measures.”

Liverpool City Council Lead Commissioner Mike Cunningham said: “Our last report, written in June, identified significant areas of failure at Liverpool City Council.

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to expand the intervention, and warmly welcome Stephen Hughes’ appointment as Finance Commissioner, who joins the team at a critical point in the intervention.

“We have been encouraged by the progress the council has made under the leadership of the interim chief executive and interim Director of Finance in recent months.

“However, the council faces substantial challenges in the next year, not least in agreeing a balanced budget, holding all out elections, and delivering a transformative improvement programme.

“We will continue to work closely with the Mayor and council leadership to address these challenges in the year ahead.”

The UK government said Hughes is an experienced finance officer who has recently worked as a finance and management consultant and previously worked as interim chief executive at Bristol Council. His role is entirely new and was created to “assist” the council.

“The new Finance Commissioner will use his expertise to ensure that the council sets a balanced budget and uses its money wisely,” said the UK government.

“This includes strengthening financial resilience, management and accountability across the council, ultimately rebuilding trust between the people of Liverpool and their council and helping level up the area further.”