UK Govt intervention at Liverpool Council ‘nears end’

Liverpool City Council has welcomed the latest report from UK Government-appointed Commissioners which recommends the Secretary of State hands some decision-making powers back to the council earlier than planned.

In their fourth progress report since the UK Government’s intervention in Liverpool began, the Commissioners have made it clear that they expect “significant parts” of the intervention to end in June 2024.

The report said the pace of improvement has continued which has given rise to optimism from the Lead Commissioner Mike Cunningham and his team.

“The council is expected to take back responsibility for the majority of senior appointments imminently,” said the council.

“And from March 2024 the departments of Finance, Transport and Highways will have Commissioner oversight reduced, with the council having full democratic and decision-making powers restored.”

The Commissioner team said Liverpool City Council “is the most stable it has been since the intervention began” and that they have every confidence that the council “has the right leadership to continue to improve at pace.”

The report praises the political and managerial leadership of the council and notes that there is now a “professional and considered approach to decision making.”

However, the Commissioners also reported that “significant challenges” remain and that some form of limited oversight may need to continue for a short period beyond June 2024.

Council leader Cllr Liam Robinson, said: “I am confident that this report is a watershed moment and marks the beginning of the end of the intervention here in Liverpool.

“I am really pleased that the Commissioners have recognised the pace at which the new Cabinet are operating at, in conjunction with the council management team.

“I firmly believe we have delivered 12 months’ work in our first six months in office to get us to this point, and I want to pay tribute to all of the officers and councillors who have worked so hard to deliver improved services for our residents.

“We are absolutely not complacent. We started from a very low base in some areas and there is much more to do, particularly in areas such as property management.

“However, when combined with the Futures’ Panel work around regenerating Liverpool, I believe we have every reason to be optimistic.”

The next report will be published in March 2024, at which point the Commissioners will outline what will happen at the end of the intervention.