The team brought in to help Birmingham turn itself around has called on the secretary of state to let it step back in light of improvements and the new management team in place.
In the latest of its progress reports to Sajid Javid, the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel (BIIP) praised interim chief executive of Birmingham City Council, Stella Manzie, and interim finance officer. Mike O’Donnell, who both have ‘considerable experience of achieving improvement and turnaround’.
It also praises Birmingham’s leader, John Clancy, for his ‘strong political leadership’ and his ‘clear commitment to decisive and timely action to confront the risks that the council still faces’.
Panel chair, John Crabtree, said: ‘In the light of recent positive developments, but also in the context of the continuing risks and challenges, the panel has suggested to the secretary of state that it should suspend its current operation with only the vice chair and the panel’s adviser staying in touch with the council.’
Cllr Clancy said: ‘I would like to thank the panel for its hard work now that it has reached the end of its time in Birmingham.
‘The latest report to the secretary of state is the most positive assessment of Birmingham City Council’s performance since the Independent Improvement Panel was established, underlining the council’s strong political and managerial leadership and concluding that our prospects for the future are good.
‘This is a significant step forward and an important vote of confidence as we continue our improvement journey.’
In the letter to the secretary of state, it suggests the council’s latest progress report, Priorities, Persistence, Progress, is a ‘credible’ account of the council’s current position and future plans.
In a recent interview with The MJ, Cllr Clancy said: ‘There comes a stage where I have to show what I can do as a leader,’ a time when ‘the stabilisers come off, and sometimes that enables you to thrive’.