There has been a step change at the city council in the last six months, according to commissioners. Credit: Place North West

Liverpool commissioners ‘optimistic’ about recovery

Government officials installed to guide the city council’s improvement journey after the damning Max Caller report praised the authority for the progress it has made and warned against complacency ahead of a testing six months.

In their third report to the Secretary of State, the commissioners praised politicians and officers at Liverpool City Council for showing “grip and determination” to transform the authority. 

Read the commissioners’ third report in full 

The previous two reports highlighted ongoing concerns about the inner workings of the city council, saying that the authority “had not correctly assessed the nature and scale of the improvements required”. 

However, the third report, which comes at the halfway mark of the commissioners’ three-year intervention, makes for happier reading. 

“We believe that there is cause for cautious optimism that improvements are being made and that the required urgency has been adopted by the senior team, who are determined to deliver good services to the people of Liverpool,” the report states. 

“Throughout our time in the council, we have been struck by the professionalism and dedication of many committed public servants and councillors who work for LCC.” 

Interim chief executive Theresa Grant was singled out as “the key factor in the sustained shift” the commissioners have seen, while Mayor Joanne Anderson was also praised. 

“The change in approach demonstrated by officers in fixing the internal workings of the council since our last report would not have been possible without the political leadership shown by the Mayor,” the report said. 

Grant is soon to be replaced by Cheshire West and Chester Council chief executive Andrew Lewis, who has been appointed to take on the role on a permanent basis. Meanwhile, a pair of senior appointments to the city council’s development team have recently been announced. 

Theresa Grant was singled out for praise. Credit: Andrew Porter Commercial Photography via Liverpool City Council

The introduction of a new leadership team – coupled with the potential for political upheaval following May’s all-out elections and switch to a leader/cabinet model – presents “a significant opportunity for the council to sustain its improvement”, according to the commissioners. 

“However, it also presents risk that will need to be carefully managed over the next six months if this opportunity is to be realised. The success of the council’s improvement journey is contingent on the stewardship of the council through this period.” 

While significant improvement has been made, particularly in the last six months, there is still room for improvement.

The commissioners said the city council’s capital programme “remains undeveloped, presenting significant risk”.

The lack of a comprehensive economic, environmental and social vision for the city is also cause for concern.

“A huge amount of energy and focus has gone into accelerating the pace of improvement at Liverpool City Council since last summer, and I am pleased that this has been recognised by the commissioners,” Mayor Anderson said.  

“We are already a very different organisation to the one I inherited in May 2021, with a commitment to openness and transparency and work underway to deliver high-quality, value-for-money services for our residents.”  

Outgoing cheif executive Grant added: “I have seen a significant shift in the pace, energy and commitment to delivering improvements during my time at Liverpool City Council, and it is good news that this is reflected in the latest report from the commissioners. 

“There is a determination that the improvements we are embedding across the organisation will deliver the improvements required by commissioners, but it is clear there is no room for complacency.” 

Your Comments

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‘The lack of an economic vision for the city remains a huge concern.’

This is a staggering failure of leadership. One of the key statutory functions of a local authority is to drive economic development. To do so it needs to understand the nature and scope of its curatorial role whilst straining ever sinew to engage effectively with the private sector. What have officers been doing?!

Granted, the executive has been hampered by the efforts of some councillors to hinder investment, but this cannot excuse the absence of an over-arching vision. A massive clear-out of dead wood is required. Fresh thinking, fresh energy, new DNA all needed.

By Sceptical

Strong leadership required from now on.

By Liverpolitis

LCC have no vision , lets hope things are moving forward. Swamp needs draining and fresh new people employed with passion and upbeat vibe for this fantastic city.
Come on let’s sort this out !!!!!!!!!

By Anonymous

If the commissioners sorted out the Liverpool planning department ,who continually hinder many good developments by insisting on red brick cladding or limiting building heights, that might encourage developers to think of investing in Liverpool again. Yes the dodgy developers need to go but there are many reputable investors are being put off.

By Anonymous

We need more OFFICE’S!!

By M Woolley

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