Collection

Intervention at Slough Borough Council

Documents relating to the external assurance review of Slough Borough Council and the intervention.

This page collates all the publications relating to the external assurance review of Slough Borough Council and the intervention.

Slough Borough Council was one of a small number of local authorities to request exceptional financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government agreed in principle to this request subject to the outcome of an external assurance review.

On 30 June 2021 the Secretary of State announced an external assurance review of Slough Borough Council’s financial position and the strength of its wider governance arrangements. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) led on the financial aspects of the review. Jim Taylor, former Chief Executive of Salford City Council, Trafford Council and Rochdale Borough Council, led on governance.

The two elements of this external assurance review, on the council’s financial position and on governance, were published on 25 October 2021. They provided evidence that Slough Borough Council had failed in numerous ways to comply with its Best Value Duty.

Also on 25 October 2021, Minister Kemi Badenoch confirmed in a written ministerial statement that after due consideration, the Secretary of State was minded to use his powers under the Local Government Act 1999 to intervene at the council. The Statement set out the Secretary of State’s decision and invited representations from the council and other interested parties by 5 November 2021.

The department also wrote to the council on 25 October.

Representations on the package from the council and other interested parties were invited by 5 November 2021. Following consideration of these representations, on 1 December 2021 Minister Kemi Badenoch confirmed in a written ministerial statement that the Secretary of State was sending commissioners into the council.

On 11 January 2022 the Secretary of State appointed a third commissioner.

On 7 March 2022 the Minister of State for Equalities and Levelling Up Communities wrote to the leader of Slough Borough Council, to communicate the government’s proposed response to the council’s request for Exceptional Financial Support to cover the financial years 2018/19 to 2022/23.

On 9 June 2022 the Slough Commissioners submitted their first report to the Secretary of State detailing their findings from their initial period at the Council. The report provides evidence that Slough Borough Council continues to fail in its Best Value Duty as at the current time the Council are not fully meeting the requirements of the Directions set out on 1 December 2021.

On 28 July 2022 the Secretary of State announced that after due consideration he was minded-to use his powers under the Local Government Act 1999 to expand the intervention at the Council. The announcement invited representations from the Council and other interested parties by 11 August 2022. Following consideration of these representations, on 1 September 2022 Minister Paul Scully announced that he would expand the intervention at the Council

On 22 December 2022 Commissioners submitted their second report on the intervention to Minister Lee Rowley. In their report Commissioners described the progress of the intervention highlighting work on organisational change and the behaviour of the Council’s leadership as well as providing an update on the Council’s asset sales programme and financial position.

On 1 March 2023 the Minister for Local Government wrote to the leader of Slough Borough Council, to communicate the government’s proposed response to the council’s request for Exceptional Financial Support for 2023/24.

On 16 March 2023 Minister Lee Rowley made a written ministerial statement in which he addressed the contents of the Commissioners second report, received 22 December 2022. Changes to the Commissioner team were also announced with both Max Caller CBE and Margaret Lee stepping back from their respective roles.

On 22 May 2023 the Secretary of State appointed Gavin Jones as Lead Commissioner and Denise Murray and Gerard Curran as Commissioners at Slough Borough Council.

On 13 July 2023 Commissioners submitted their third report on the intervention to Minister Lee Rowley. In their report the Commissioners set out the progress that had been made by the Council since their second report, but noted that significant challenges remain which will require sustained improvement. The Minister published this report on 14 September 2023 alongside a written ministerial statement in which he acknowledged the progress being made by the Council but highlighted the need for an accelerated pace of improvement and demonstration of financial control.

Documents

Published 1 December 2021
Last updated 14 September 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added commissioners' third report, ministerial response and letter to chief executive.

  2. Added updated Explanatory Memorandum; Commissioner appointment letters; and letter to Chief Executive.

  3. Added commissioner's second report, ministerial response and letter to chief executive.

  4. Added Slough Borough Council: Exceptional Financial Support request 2023-24.

  5. Added letter to Commissioners; letter to Acting Head of Paid Service; letter of representation; updated Direction; updated Explanatory Memorandum.

  6. Added commissioners' first report, letter to Acting Head of Paid Service, and letter from Paul Scully, Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to commissioners.

  7. Added letter - Slough Borough Council: Exceptional Financial Support request.

  8. Added Slough Borough Council: Letter to acting Head of Paid Service regarding the Secretary of State’s decision to appoint an Assistant Commissioner.

  9. Representations on the package from the council and other interested parties were invited by 5 November 2021. Following consideration of these representations, on 1 December 2021 the Secretary of State confirmed that he was sending commissioners into Slough Borough Council. Added links to Directions, Explanatory Memorandum, Representation and commissioner appointment letters.

  10. First published.