Appointment of Government Commissioners welcomed by NCC

The appointment of government commissioners to oversee financial and governance arrangements at Northamptonshire County Council has been welcomed by the authority.

Last month, the then Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid announced that he was minded to send commissioners into the council, following the publication of the Best Value Inspection report.

It has now been announced in a written statement by Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP that two government-appointed commissioners will work at the county council’s headquarters at One Angel Square to oversee finance and governance.

In a Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament, the Secretary of State said the commissioners would be led by Tony McArdle, former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council. He will be supported by Brian Roberts, former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire County Council, and an expert in financial management.

The commissioners will be at the council alongside the new independent Improvement Board agreed by the council’s cabinet yesterday which will challenge and oversee improvements at the council.

The commissioners are due to be in place until March 31, 2021 and will update the Secretary of State every three months on progress.

Cllr Matthew Golby, leader of the county council, said: “We very much welcome the intervention by the government in overseeing financial and governance arrangements at the council as this goes a long way in allaying uncertainty for staff and partners organisations.

“We are very much committed to working with the government to ensure that we deliver the best services for the people of Northamptonshire, whilst being mindful of providing value for money for the taxpayer.

“Both the council’s new-look Cabinet and the senior management team see this as an opportunity to bring improvements and we look forward to implementing some positive change.”

In his statement in March, Sajid Javid also said that local government reform was needed in the county and has invited a restructuring plan to be submitted by the end of July.

Cllr Golby said: “I am keen to continue the work we’ve already begun to reform local government in the county in full partnership with our district and borough council colleagues, and with our local MPs. Another priority for me is to begin rebuilding trust with our communities and residents.”