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Panel appointed to help turn Croydon around

Ministers have appointed a panel of local government experts to help turn cash-strapped Croydon Council around.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced yesterday (1 February) that an improvement and assurance panel has been appointed to support the London borough.

The panel will be led by the former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council, Tony McArdle, who will be supported by Margaret Lee and Phil Brookes.

They will measure the council’s progress against the milestones the council has set and report to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on a quarterly basis.

The appointment of the panel follows an independent report, which was published in October, and criticised the local authority’s ‘insufficient rigor and control’ of its property investment companies.

The report by Grant Thornton raised serious concerns about the London borough’s financial position and governance and makes multiple recommendations for change.

This prompted the government to order a rapid review into Croydon Council, which found ‘significant failings in the leadership and management’ at the London borough.

‘The rapid review into Croydon Council found serious failings in governance, financial strategy and commercial investments which have led to taxpayers and residents being severely let down over a number of years,’ said Mr Jenrick.

‘This must end now, and I have appointed an expert panel to help the council urgently address the issues they face and deliver a comprehensive recovery plan. I will be monitoring progress closely and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.’

The leader of Croydon Council, Cllr Hamida Ali welcomed the appointment of the improvement panel.

‘We have already made significant progress but there is a long way to go and we will continue to engage fully with the panel and MHCLG as we continue this vital work,’ said Cllr Ali.

‘I have already met with the chair and the panel and had constructive conversations and I look forward to continuing the positive discussions that we have begun.’

Photo Credit – Jo_Johnston (Pixabay)

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