Hannah Miller: What's next for Liverpool City Council after troubles at the top

The Prime Minister said today there's been 'very concerning, very worrying questions raised by the police' about Liverpool City Council.

It's the clearest indication yet that the government will take action against the local authority.

  • What’s going to happen?

It was reported in the Telegraph this weekend that the Government is ‘preparing to takeover’ the running of Liverpool City Council.

The story hinted at a high level of intervention, which would see commissioners sent in to run the day-to-day operations of the council ‘for several years’.

The Government has never before intervened like this in a city the size of Liverpool.

We don’t yet know what approach ministers will take, but it’s possible the intervention may be slightly lighter-touch than briefed at the weekend.

The Chief Executive of the council, Tony Reeves, has looked carefully at the internal workings of the council since he took over in mid-2018.

He is understood to have worked closely with Max Caller on his investigation into the authority.

  • What’s it all about?

The Government inspection was prompted by the ‘significant connection’ between Liverpool City Council and an ongoing police investigation and

Elected Mayor Joe Anderson was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation in December 2020. His arrest alongside four other men is part of Operation Aloft, an investigation into building and development contracts in Liverpool. Mr Anderson maintains he is innocent and has been released on bail.

It came after the council's Director of Regeneration Nick Kavanagh was arrested as part of the same Merseyside Police investigation in December 2019. He is suspected of conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in a public office but has never been charged.

  • When will the announcement come?

We don't have a fixed date but it is thought to be likely to come on Wednesday, via a statement to the House of Commons.Robert Jenrick received Max Caller’s report on Friday 19th March and he will need a few days to read its findings, come to a decision, and work with officials to prepare the necessary statements.