Independent Panel overseeing Wirral Council to stand down

20 March 2024
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A panel put in place to oversee improvements at Wirral Council have congratulated the authority on the progress made in the last two years said they now plan to stand down.

The decision of the Independent Assurance Panel (IAP) was announced at a meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee which met on Wednesday March 20.

The IAP was invited to oversee Wirral Council’s improvement in response to an External Assurance Review commissioned by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published in November 2021. 

The External Assurance Review was undertaken as a condition of the Council’s request for exceptional financial support in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and the IAP was subsequently a part of the council’s move towards putting itself on a sustainable financial footing.

The Independent Panel has been chaired by Carolyn Downs and included specialist advisors with significant local government experience including two Local Government Association peer representatives. Over the last two years they have had oversight of the council’s Improvement Programme designed to put the authority on a sound financial footing and ensure it is moving in the right direction. This process has included reviewing how the council delivers for the people of Wirral and provides the best possible value for money. 

Chief executive of Wirral Council, Paul Satoor, told members of the Policy and Resources Committee the Panel had indicated they plan to step down subject to their final report being presented to DLUHC, and to Wirral Council’s next Policy and Resources committee which will then be able to recommend it to a meeting of the full council for approval.

Mr Satoor said: 

This process has meant that as an authority we have had to take a frank and honest look at how our whole organisation operates and ensure the focus is on ensuring it is efficient, effective and directed clearly on providing the best possible service to the people of Wirral.  

Just because the IAP are no longer working with us does not mean this work will stop though – it is vital we continue improving.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Paul Stuart, said: 

I’m really pleased the Panel has confidence in Wirral and with the progress we have made, and no longer feels we need their support.  This is testament to the hard work of people throughout this council, group leaders, elected members and officers alike, to ensure we make Wirral Council fit for purpose, delivering the best we can for the people of this borough.

The meeting of the P&R Committee is webcast and can be viewed online at the council website