Birmingham improvement panel praises progress

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel has published a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, reporting on Birmingham City Council’s improvement progress since February 2017.

Priorities, Persistence, Progress, the panel’s report, claims that the letter serves as a credible account of the council’s ‘current position, recent developments and future plans’.

It also praises the recent appointments of interim chief executive Stella Manzie and interim chief finance officer Mike O’Donnell who ‘have considerable experience of achieving improvement and turnaround’.

John Crabtree, chair of the panel, said: “Our assessment overall is that the council’s broad direction of travel is positive and prospects for improvement are good. 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.

“In the light of recent positive developments, but also in the context of the continuing risks and challenges the panel has suggested to the Secretary of State that it should suspend its current operation with only the vice chair and the panel’s adviser staying in touch with the council. The council has agreed to produce a further progress report in December 2017 and there will be a more in-depth review and public report about the council’s overall position and progress within twelve months.”