Government could intervene in Walsall

The Audit Commission has recommended that Walsall council
replaces its current executive team with private sector managers
following a series of service and management failures,
writes Derren Hayes.

It will now be up to John Prescott, as secretary of state with
responsibility for local government, to decide whether to accept
the commission’s recommendation.

The council’s 10-member executive could be replaced with either
a team of private sector troubleshooters or other local government
managers. The commission recommends the new team should be in place
for between one and two years.

Walsall becomes only the second council to be referred for
government intervention after Hackney in London. The social
services department scored zero stars in the first round of the new
performance rating system.

The Audit Commission was forced make its recommendation because
the council had not made sufficient progress in addressing problems
highlighted in a corporate governance report in January.

The commission found that progress had been made in stamping out
management bullying and balancing budgets, but the council had
failed to evaluate its senior managers or engage properly with the
local community.

Commission controller Andrew Foster said: ‘Since January
the council has been constantly monitored and some things have got
better, but we’re not satisfied with the pace of




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