Thomas Bridge 12 April 2016

Tower Hamlets fails to win back powers

Tower Hamlets fails to win back powers image

Tower Hamlets is still 'some way off' at showing sufficient improvement in order to be handed back control of more functions, according to communities secretary Greg Clark.

Mr Clark said he needed to see 'sufficient evidence of real organisational change' before he could consider returning powers to the London borough.

Last year, Eric Pickles sent the commissioners in after mayor Lutfur Rahman’s election victory was declared void when he was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

In a letter to Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs, Mr Clark said he was 'disappointed' by the 'lost time and lack of progress in certain areas of the intervention'.

'Finalising a clear and meaningful delegation of responsibilities to the new CEO will mark a fundamental difference between your administration and that of your predecessor,' Mr Clark wrote.

'While I understand your impatience for the intervention to end, I will need to be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence that change has been embedded and key outcomes have been delivered before I will consider any variation.'

Tower Hamlets Council said it had delivered over 80% of the requirements set out in the Government's plan, including procurement overhauls and a cultural improvement programme.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said: 'I am pleased that the secretary of state has recognised the progress that officers and members have made in tackling the failings identified by government and the root causes that allowed them to happen.

'I want to see the directions lifted, so that local people will again have proper democratic control, so I am of course disappointed that the commissioners remain in place. I am committed to ensuring that we meet both the letter and spirit of the government’s directions, supported by our new senior officer team.'

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