Liverpool takes strides towards council reset
Newly elected mayor Joanne Anderson has appointed a whole new cabinet, while the city council approved its response to Max Caller’s damning report into its operations.
Anderson has chosen Cllr Jane Corbett to be deputy mayor, replacing Wendy Simon who led the council following the arrest of former mayor Joe Anderson last December.
Joe Anderson, who is no relation to the new mayor, was arrested as part of Operation Aloft – a police investigation into corruption within the city council – but denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.
Corbett will also be Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources.
The full list of cabinet members:
- Climate change and environment – Cllr Dan Barrington
- Neighbourhoods and communities – Cllr Abdul Qadir
- Development and economy – Cllr Sarah Doyle
- Education and skills – Cllr Tom Logan
- Adult and children’s social care – Cllr Frazer Lake
- Culture and visitor economy – Cllr Harry Doyle
“This is the beginning of a new era at Liverpool City Council and I am hugely excited and very proud to be leading the team,” Joanne Anderson said.
“I was keen to appoint colleagues who hold a passion for their portfolios who bring with them knowledge and a wide range of experience. We are determined to restore the council’s reputation and make sure that our city plan delivers improvements to the lives of all citizens.”
Meanwhile, at a meeting held yesterday evening, the city council approved its response to Max Caller’s report into the running of the local authority, which uncovered a “deeply concerning picture of mismanagement” and found evidence of a “dysfunctional culture” within the council. Former mayor Anderson recently published a withering rebuttal of the report, labelling it a “smear”.
In addition, Liverpool has drawn up an improvement plan that aims to address issues raised in Caller’s report.
The improvement plan is split into seven key themes:
- Cultural change
- Leadership and capacity
- LCC companies
- Corporate support services
- Investment, capital programme and property management.
Among the changes the city council is preparing to make is an overhaul of the city’s electoral cycle.
Under the proposals, from 2023 whole elections are to take place every four years. Currently, a third of council seats are up for grabs every three years.
Meanwhile, the number of councillors in each ward is to be reduced from three to one and a boundary reshuffle is also proposed, the first since 2004 when the number of councillors was reduced from 99 to 90.
The council is also considering a motion to bring forward the date of the proposed referendum on a city mayor from 2023 to 2022, a move that could see the authority revert to a leader and cabinet model.
In a letter from Tony Reeves to the Government, the chief executive accepted the findings of Caller’s report, adding: “the council acknowledges that it has failed to comply with its Best Value Duty over a number of years.”
Reeves added: “Although this is one of the most difficult periods in the council’s recent history, it is also an opportunity to reset the council as a leading local authority.
“It provides a platform to shine a light on, and remove, practices and behaviours of both officers and members which have no place in our council. There is cross-party commitment to this and a genuine desire to place Liverpool at the forefront of local government practice.”