Greater responsibility for the governance of Tower Hamlets borough council will now fall to the mayor, Greg Clark announced today (29 October 2015).
From this weekend, the government’s commissioners will no longer have the power to directly run the council, but will continue to carry out some functions and will oversee further improvements, which will be led by the mayor.
In a letter to Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, the Communities Secretary welcomed progress made in the last 6 months to address the entrenched problems at the council.
But Mr Clark said it was right that the government’s commissioners remain in post, to oversee the continued improvement at Tower Hamlets, and to carry out important functions - including the issuing of grants in the borough and continue to strengthen governance.
He warned that they would remain vigilant – and that any lapse in the council’s management would result in action being taken.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
I’m pleased with the progress that has been made in Tower Hamlets over the last 6 months, which will help restore the community’s confidence in how their area is being run.
It means I am confident that, from this weekend, John Biggs can now be left to take on the day-to-day running of the borough as the mayor.
But our 4 commissioners will remain in place, and I will not hesitate to take action if progress stalls and the governance of Tower Hamlets falls short.
The 4 commissioners working at Tower Hamlets borough council are:
Sir Ken Knight CBE QFSM, Max Caller CBE, Chris Allison CBE and Alan Wood CBE.
Current directions from the Secretary of State mean the commissioners can require the authority to take any steps they consider are needed for the good governance and sound financial management of Tower Hamlets borough council.
These directions, which took effect on the 6 May expire on Saturday 31 October 2015. The commissioners will continue their original remit, which is:
- to oversee an improvement plan covering communications, procurement, property disposals, organisational cultural change
- to strengthen the authority’s core governance arrangements
- to take over the authority’s grant making functions
- to exercise the authority’s functions of appointing an electoral registration officer and a returning officer for local elections.