Inspection into the governance of Liverpool City Council

Documents relating to the inspection into the governance of Liverpool City Council and proposed intervention.

This page collates all the publications relating to the inspection carried out by Max Caller CBE into Liverpool City Council conducted under section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999, and proposed intervention.

It is a matter of public record that Merseyside Police have for many months been conducting an investigation which has resulted in a number of arrests made on suspicion of fraud, bribery, corruption and misconduct in public office, both in December 2019 and in September 2020. Further arrests were made on 4 December 2020 in connection with offences of bribery and witness intimidation. This investigation involves a significant connection to Liverpool City Council.

On Monday 7 December the Secretary of State met with officers from Liverpool City Council at his request and was given a range of assurances about the steps taken to improve governance in the Council. This was followed up with a letter sent to Liverpool City Council on 8 December seeking written assurances, including on the steps the council has taken to improve governance and to ensure that the council is operating properly and in line with its Best Value Duty. Liverpool City Council submitted their response on Friday 11 December.

On 17 December the Secretary of State announced the appointment of Max Caller CBE to carry out an independent inspection of Liverpool City Council’s compliance with its Best Value Duty in relation to the authority’s planning, highways, regeneration and property management functions and the strength of associated audit and governance arrangements.

A letter informing the council of the Inspection was also sent on the day of the announcement.

On 7 January Mervyn Greer and Vivienne Geary were appointed as assistant inspectors.

The independent inspection report was published on 24 March 2021, giving evidence that the council had failed in numerous ways to comply with its Best Value Duty.

Also on 24 March 2021, the Secretary of State made an oral statement in the House of Commons in which he proposed to:

  • appoint Commissioners to exercise certain and limited functions of the council as required for a minimum of 3 years
  • use his powers under the Local Government Act 2000 to provide for Liverpool City Council to hold whole council elections for the first time from 2023; and for a reduced number of Councillors elected on a single member ward basis

Representations on the package from the Council and other interested parties were invited by 24 May 2021. Following consideration of these representations, on 10 June 2021 the Secretary of State confirmed in a Written Ministerial Statement that he was sending commissioners into Liverpool City Council.

On 25 November 2021 the Secretary of State published the Commissioners’ first report. In this, they describe how Liverpool City Council is facing significant challenges and is at the start of a long improvement journey.

In his response, the Secretary of State fully endorses Commissioners’ account of progress to date and what is required going forward. He notes that he has agreed with Commissioners that they will submit their next report to him in April 2022. (Read his announcement in the Written Ministerial Statement).


Published 6 April 2021
Last updated 25 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added Liverpool City Council: Commissioners’ first report.

  2. Documents added relating to Directions made under the Local Government Act 1999.

  3. First published.