On 22nd March 2022, Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, appointed two commissioners for Sandwell Council.
These appointments followed the publication of a Value for Money Governance Review by Sandwell’s external auditor, Grant Thornton, issued to the Authority on 3 December 2021.
The Secretary of State has concluded that this review provides evidence that Sandwell had failed to comply with its Best Value Duty. This is a requirement set out in the Local Government Act 1999 to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, with regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
In announcing this intervention, the Secretary of State confirmed that he was encouraged by the ‘green shoots’ of progress described in the auditor’s report, but took the view that the risk of progress stalling or slowing was significant. The Commissioners role is to ensure the continuation of Sandwell’s improvement journey.