Government will intervene to tackle failures at Sandwell Council

council house
Sandwell Council has been dogged by negative publicity for years Credit: ITV Central

The government has confirmed it is to intervene in the management of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Officials sent a letter to the local authority in January warning that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove was considering exercising his powers by offering 'external help'.

Now commissioners have been appointed to implement 'positive and far-reaching changes'.

It comes as the spotlight is on the borough of Sandwell as it prepares to host the Commonwealth Games swimming and diving competitions at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

The move comes after an external review revealed a 'deeply troubling picture of mismanagement and of ineffective scrutiny and accountability arrangements' at the council.

  • Kim Bromley-Derry CBE DL will provide continuity of leadership as Managing Director Commissioner

  • Commissioners will work with the council to address serious mismanagement

  • Local Government Minister calls for far reaching changes to rebuild trust

In a statement, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Two Commissioners with a proven record of leadership, transformation and strong governance have now been appointed to work collaboratively with the council to deliver the needed improvements.

"The Commissioners will take over functions associated with the governance and scrutiny of strategic decision-making by the Council, including those relating to the appointment and dismissal of statutory officers."

Local Government Minister Kemi Badenoch MP said: "Given the clear evidence of failings at Sandwell Council, I have decided that it is necessary for the government to intervene.

"I am confident that working collaboratively with these commissioners, the council will build on their recent progress to make the necessary improvements and rebuild trust with the community they serve."

Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council told ITV Central journalist Lucy Kapasi in January she was focused on making improvements Credit: ITV Central

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “We acknowledge today’s announcement by the Government.

“My vision for Sandwell is to be a borough that is totally focussed on the needs of our residents, where everyone can fulfil their potential and be proud to live here.

“It’s welcome that external reviews have now recognised ‘green shoots’ of recovery are clearly visible. But we know there is much for us still to do, and we have a clear plan to drive improvement.

“So, we will of course work very closely with the Government and all our partners to continue to progress and maintain our focus on delivering high-quality services our residents can rely on.

“I am delighted that Kim Bromley-Derry will be staying on as part of this work. He’s been so important in the positive changes we’ve been making, and will provide the continuity we need to carry on with the improvements we’ve already begun putting in place.

"We remain fully committed to providing what our residents want – to live in clean and safe neighbourhoods, to have somewhere to turn when times are tough, and to be proud to call Sandwell home.”

The Commissioners will be led by Kim Bromley-Derry CBE DL, the current interim Chief Executive Officer who has been leading the council since August 2021. He will be supported by Assistant Commissioner Jim Taylor, former Chief Executive of Salford City Council prior to his retirement in 2021.

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