‘I don’t believe anything is unfixable,’ Jo Miller states. That was her unshakeable belief when she arrived as chief executive of Doncaster MBC in 2011 – appointed by the then secretary of state Eric Pickles to an authority under intervention.
The council had been dogged by Donnygate – the 1990s corruption scandal that saw councillors jailed – and children’s services failures in the 2000s before the Government stepped in.
Despite possessing all the ingredients for economic growth, the former mining town was struggling. The failures of the authority pervaded the place itself and the council had been branded a ‘toxic’ partner. The politics were broken and senior officers were focused internally, serving the town hall and not the people.