Press release

Independent review into corporate governance at Birmingham City Council

Call for evidence announced at start of Kerslake Review into Birmingham City Council governance.

Sir Bob Kerslake today (5 September 2014) launched a call for evidence at the start of his independent review into the operation, culture and structure of corporate governance at Birmingham City Council. He also announced the names of an advisory panel, comprised of senior politicians and local government chief executives who will support him.

The review, which is to be completed by the end of the year, will also make a series of recommendations on the council’s economic and service delivery capabilities. Among the lines of inquiry already discussed with the council leader, Sir Albert Bore and its Chief Executive Mark Rogers are:

  • structure and size of Birmingham City Council
  • clarity of strategic leadership and direction
  • managerial capacity to deliver the council’s priorities
  • role of the council in representing the community
  • financial planning and sustainability in the medium and long term
  • performance management and accountability
  • the council’s approach to partnership

Over the next 4 months, Sir Bob Kerslake will be talking to officials and politicians in the council, and key organisations in local government, including, the Local Government Association, Members of Parliament and other relevant parties. The final report will also take into account the findings of the recent reviews by Ian Kershaw, Peter Clark, Julian Le Grand and Lord Warner. It will also take into account the experiences and successes of other councils, drawing on the expertise of the panel members.

Speaking ahead of the first of his weekly visits to Birmingham, where he will be conducting interviews, and hosting open evidence sessions, Sir Bob Kerslake said:

Birmingham is a vibrant, dynamic city of 1.1 million people and Birmingham Council is the largest in the UK. Ensuring that everyone shares in the cities economic prosperity and takes full advantage of all of the opportunities open to them requires strong civic leadership, effective governance and excellent delivery by the council.

This is very much an open call for evidence and I’m keen to hear from as many individuals, institutions and organisations as possible to inform the review and its final recommendations.

I am extremely pleased that this panel of highly talented individuals, with a wealth of direct experience have agreed to play such an active part in this important work, helping me develop and test the ideas and proposals that emerge over the coming months.

The advisory panel will support Sir Bob Kerslake throughout the review and themselves spend 5 days in Birmingham over the next 4 months conducting interviews and holding evidence gathering sessions. The panel are:

  • Deborah Cadman, OBE (Chief Executive, Suffolk County Council)
  • Carolyn Downs (Chief Executive, Local Government Association)
  • Councillor Sir Steve Houghton (Labour, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Cudworth Ward)
  • Councillor Mehboob Khan (Political Advisor to London Councils / Labour, Kirklees Council, Greenhead Ward)
  • Joanne Roney, OBE (Chief Executive, Wakefield Council)
  • Donna Hall (Chief Executive, Wigan Council)
  • Councillor David Simmonds (Conservatives, Hillingdon London Borough Council, Ickenham Ward); and
  • Councillor Howard Sykes (Liberal Democrats, Oldham Council, Shaw Ward)

Further information

Sir Bob Kerslake’s review was published on this website on 9 December 2014.

On 22 July 2014, Sir Albert Bore, Leader of the City Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles announced that Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary in Department for Communities and Local Government would undertake an independent review at the council. Sir Bob Kerslake will report back to the Leader of the City Council and Secretary of State by 31 December 2014.

Terms of Reference

The Leader of the City Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government have requested an independent review of Birmingham City Council.

Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary in Department for Communities and Local Government, will lead the review and report back to the Leader of the City Council and Secretary of State by 31 December 2014. The review will examine both the governance and organisational capabilities of the council with a view to making a series of recommendations on the economic and service delivery capabilities of the council.

In conducting this review:

  • Sir Bob will appoint an advisory panel to support him throughout the review, which will spend 5 days in Birmingham over the next 4 months to conduct interviews and hold evidence gathering sessions
  • the panel will meet with Sir Bob on a regular basis
  • Sir Bob will hold an open call for evidence as well as talking to key organisations in local government, including officials and politicians in Birmingham City Council, the Local Government Association, Members of Parliament and other relevant parties
  • Birmingham City Council will provide support to the team working with Sir Bob, in particular sharing financial plans, past and present
  • Birmingham City Council will loan a team leader to join the Birmingham team for the period of this review

The review will consider the operation, culture and structure of the corporate governance arrangement at the heart of the City Council. It will look at their effectiveness and appropriateness for supporting the leadership and local service delivery needed to secure the future propensity of the City, and the wellbeing of all who live, work, or visit there. Sir Bob will make recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the City Council’s corporate governance arrangements both in the short and medium term.

The following lines of inquiry will be pursued:

  • structure and size of Birmingham City Council
  • clarity of strategic leadership and direction
  • managerial capacity to deliver the council’s priorities
  • role of the council in representing the community
  • financial planning and sustainability in the medium and long term
  • performance management and accountability
  • the council’s approach to partnership

The review will take into account the findings of the recent reviews by Ian Kershaw, Peter Clark, Julian Le Grand and Lord Warner. It will also take into account the experiences and successes of other councils using the expertise of panel members.

Timeline

Review announced July 2014
Call for evidence September - November 2014
Write and present report to DCLG ministers and Birmingham City Council December 2014

Contact details for responses

Email kerslakereview@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Twitter @KerslakeReview

Advisory panel biographies

Sir Bob Kerslake biography

Advisory panel biographies (PDF, 23.1KB, 2 pages)

Office address and general enquiries

2 Marsham Street
London

SW1P 4DF

Media enquiries