The Department of Upgrading Communities and Housing (DLUHC) said ministers “remained concerned about Middlesbrough’s ability to meet its best value duty” after a series of reports last year revealed governance issues with the uniform authority. I am doing,” he said.
In its Best Value Notice letter to City Council Chief Executive Tony Parkinson, DLUHC detailed its concerns about the City Council’s ability to comply with its obligations under the Local Government Act of 1999.
A best value notice is a formal notification that the DLUHC has concerns about the agency’s ability to meet its best value obligations and requires the agency to engage with the agency to provide assurance of improvement. .
In July 2022, the council’s external auditors, Ernst & Young, noted that “the local government culture and governance arrangements were not undermining its effectiveness,” and then came to light. “.
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External auditors have identified multiple instances in which authorities made significant decisions without following their own established policies and procedures.
The report highlights the Council’s involvement in a £21m office revitalization plan, dubbed Boho X, and said that significant changes to the design of the project “will affect the agency’s program and project management framework.” occurred outside.
In addition, council procurement of Covid-19 tests not permitted for use in the UK and Local Authorities (Elected Mayors and Assistant Mayors) (England) 2002 Regulations are carried out by employees of the Authority.
In September 2022, further concerns were raised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (CIPFA) about “substantial issues” involving divisions between Unitary members and officers.
The report’s authors reportedly found “mistrust and dysfunction among members and officers” and were “struck” by the “hostile” language.
As a result, the Council agreed to create an “Improvement Committee” to address the issues detailed in the CIPFA report.
The Best Value Notice, issued on Tuesday (January 24th), sets out DLUHC’s expectations for Middlesbrough:
- Continuing efforts to achieve the action plan approved and agreed upon by the General Council, “achieving set milestones at pace and clearly setting out how success will be measured”
- Continuing efforts to implement cultural change, particularly in relation to relationships between officers and members, and that this will be a key focus of the Improvement Committee;
- Complements existing engagements between the agency and the agency – DLUHC will communicate at a working level, initially quarterly, recognizing that this may change over time as needed. I expect that it should be taken
- Respond fully and promptly to requests for information. “The Department of State will also turn to the Governance Improvement Committee to assure you of your agency’s plans and their implementation as part of our engagement on this matter.”
In response to the joint statement’s notice, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and Council Chief Executive Tony Parkinson said they “remain committed” to a governance improvement program and “have reached out to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CIPFA) on this matter. I am fully involved.” jobs”.
“We have already taken steps and developed an action plan to address these issues, and we are pleased that DLUHC has recognized the progress we have made so far.
“We are fully aware of the seriousness of the Best Value Notice and are committed to demonstrating the progress that DLUHC rightfully expects.”
The pair later said, “In addition to our day-to-day activities, our dedication to ensuring positive cultural and governance change continues.”