Government control of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council is due to end early, following improvements at the council.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the statutory intervention of the council would draw to an end as soon as its children’s services are transferred to an independent trust.
The Department for Communities and Local Government intervened back in 2010 after an Audit Commission report found ‘serious failings’ in the council’s corporate governance. However, Pickles said the council’s performance has now ‘materially improved’ so the intervention would close before the scheduled end date of July 2015.
He said: ‘It is clear to me that, given the level of improvement that Doncaster has now achieved, their firm plans for the future, and their readiness to engage with the wider local government sector on improvement, continuing the statutory corporate intervention will add little, if any, value.’
Pickles confirmed control would be handed back to the council as soon as its Children’s Services Trust is established at the end of September.
‘Whilst statutory intervention is rightly a measure of last resort, its use at Doncaster is a clear demonstration of how appropriate intervention can be a powerful means of successfully addressing deep-rooted failings in a council and ensuring that it is able to provide the leadership and local services that local communities rightly expect,’ Pickles added.
Jo Miller, chief executive of the council, said: 'This is a landmark moment in the council’s improvement journey. We have changed for the better and it is with huge thanks to our staff and partners for their drive and determination, and who have worked together collaboratively, that we are seeing the results today.
'At the end of September our children’s services will be moving into an independent trust and we are well aware of the significant improvements we still must make for children and families, along with the other public service reform in the new financial climate. Having said that, with the strong governance and leadership we now have in place, we are in the right shape to improve the lives for the people who live, learn and work in Doncaster.'