Nottingham City Council has welcomed the Government’s decision to continue with the current arrangements in place for overseeing ongoing improvements at the authority rather than appoint commissioners.
The decision means that the Improvement and Assurance Board chaired by Sir Tony Redmond will remain in place to support the council in implementing its ‘Together for Nottingham’ improvement plan.
Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “We very much welcome the Government’s decision which reflects that the current arrangements in place are working.
“The council has already made many of the improvements expected of us by the Improvement and Assurance Board and the Government. In particular, we had agreed a balanced budget and medium term financial plan prior to the soaring inflation and energy costs that have affected the finances of households and councils up and down the country – and we are well on the way to balancing the budget for a second year.
“We recognise there is much more work to do to increase the pace of the changes and to put the council on a solid financial footing despite the huge budget pressures we and all councils are facing currently.”
The council’s Chief Executive, Mel Barrett, said: “We have previously said that our strong preference was to continue working with the Improvement and Assurance Board, with its balance of support and challenge, but that we were committed to working effectively with whatever arrangements Government put in place so that the intervention can be as successful as possible in as short a time as possible.
“We very much welcome the continued involvement of Sir Tony Redmond as Chair of the Improvement and Assurance Board. We are committed to working together to address the need to reduce the council’s cost base whilst ensuring that we are providing economic, efficient and effective Best Value services to the people of Nottingham.”
The significant progress on improvements made over the last two years has included:
- Initially agreeing a balanced budget for the current year and Medium-Term Financial Plan for the next four years, prior to the huge increases in inflation and energy costs seen over the last few months. Plans have been fully worked up to do this again in March
- Reducing debt levels and increasing the disposal of property assets to fund council projects and priorities
- Identifying and responding to issues with unlawful HRA misallocation – commissioning and implementing recommendations from two independent reports
- Carrying out a review of council-owned companies including bringing Enviroenergy in-house; selling Thomas Bow and transferring housing services and revenue and benefits back to the council
- Working with bodies such as the Local Government Association and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy on implementing best practices at the council
- Investing in our staff through leadership development programmes and best practice transformational change programmes, alongside leading private sector partners. This has provided significant opportunities for under-represented groups, reflecting the diversity of Nottingham as a city.