Leveling Secretary Greg Clark has confirmed he is ‘willing to’ exercise his intervention powers in Slough Borough Council after the Commissioners’ Borough Progress Report came to light the continuing inability to provide the best value for residents and the large-scale challenges facing the council.
Commissioners were sent to Slough Borough Council on December 1, 2021 to address serious financial and management shortcomings at the request of the former Secretary of State for Levels, Housing and Communities and their first report was submitted on June 9, 2022.
While Slough Borough Council staff have worked hard to enact change in difficult circumstances, the report describes the ‘unprecedented’ scale of the challenges facing the council, including financial problems due to mounting debt and poor accounting practices, and governance issues that have decimated the board. ability and capacity.
The report also made it clear that it will take “a long time” to achieve deep and positive improvements in Slough.
To ensure that staff have adequate support to meet these challenges, the Secretary of State may grant commissioners additional powers to oversee the recruitment of the most experienced members of council staff.
Leveling Up Secretary Greg Clark said:
“The Stewards’ report has reassured me that the current response measures are still necessary in Slough. Councils should serve the people they serve – which is why I am willing to expand these measures to bring about quick and lasting improvements.
“While this decision is not taken lightly, difficult decisions must be made to protect hard-working taxpayers.
“I am confident that Slough Borough Council will continue to work closely with the Commissioners to meet their challenges and I hope to see more progress imminently.”
Chief Commissioner Max Caller CBE said:
“The challenges in Slough are enormous and unprecedented. We work closely with DLUHC and are grateful for the support of Ministers in driving change in the Council.
“We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to expand guidance at this time.”
The Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is working closely with Slough stakeholders and MPs, and Minister of State Paul Scully spoke directly to Slough MPs about the proposed new response measures.
Slough Borough Council and other interested parties will have until August 11 to comment on these proposed response measures.
The Commissioners play a crucial role in getting to the bottom of the issues facing Slough Borough Council, using their years of experience working in leadership roles on other UK councils.
The Slough Commissioners continue to bring a wealth of experience to the council and many improvements to date would not have been possible without their guidance.
On December 1, 2021, commissioners were sent to Slough Borough Council to address serious financial and management failures at the request of the former Secretary of State for Levels, Housing and Communities.
Chief Commissioner Max Caller CBE previously led Best Value Inspections in Northamptonshire and Liverpool and served as Commissioner at Tower Hamlets. Max is a former Chief Executive of the London Boroughs of Hackney and Barnet and former Chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.
Max Caller CBE is supported by Finance Commissioner Margaret Lee, former Essex County Council Statutory Finance Officer and member of the London Borough of Croydon Improvement and Assurance Panel and Commissioner Gavin Jones, current Chief Executive of Essex County Council ‘Essex.