BREAKING NEWS: Government taskforce sent in to turn around Northamptonshire County Council finances

Commissioners have been sent in to manage finances at Northamptonshire County Council.
Commissioners have been sent in to manage finances at Northamptonshire County Council.

Two commissioners have been drafted in to oversee financial decisions at Northamptonshire County Council for three years following a Government announcement.

Last month, the then secretary of state for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, announced that he was likely to send commissioners into the council, following the publication of the damning Best Value Inspection report.

Previous cabinet member for finance, Robin Brown, and leader, Heather Smith, have both resigned since the damning Best Value Inspection by Max Caller.

Previous cabinet member for finance, Robin Brown, and leader, Heather Smith, have both resigned since the damning Best Value Inspection by Max Caller.

Secretary of state James Brokenshire MP has now drafted in two government-appointed commissioners who will work at the One Angel Square headquarters overseeing finance and governance.

In a written ministerial statement to Parliament, the communities secretary said the commissioners would be led by Tony McArdle, former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council. He will be supported by Brian Roberts, former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire County Council.

The commissioners will be at the council alongside a new independent improvement board agreed by the council’s cabinet yesterday, which will challenge and oversee improvements at the council.

The commissioners are due to be in place until March 31, 2021 and will update the Secretary of State every three months on progress.

Councillor Matthew Golby, leader of the county council, said: “We very much welcome the intervention by the government in overseeing financial and governance arrangements at the council as this goes a long way in allaying uncertainty for staff and partners organisations.

“We are very much committed to working with the government to ensure that we deliver the best services for the people of Northamptonshire, whilst being mindful of providing value for money for the taxpayer.

“Both the council’s new-look cabinet and the senior management team see this as an opportunity to bring improvements and we look forward to implementing some positive change.”

In his statement in March, Sajid Javid also said that local government reform was needed in the county and has invited a restructuring plan to be submitted by the end of July.

Councillor Golby said: “I am keen to continue the work we’ve already begun to reform local government in the county in full partnership with our district and borough council colleagues and with our local MPs. Another priority for me is to begin rebuilding trust with our communities and residents.”