A NEWLY created “turnaround” team and a policy unit are among the measures expected to be brought in by Wirral Council in the aftermath of a damning report into how it has been run and managed.
The measures follow a report by outside consultant Anna Klonowski which said it was at risk of “service failure” and external inspection unless action was taken quickly.
This week sees the first meeting of a specially created cabinet committee set up by council leader Steve Foulkes in the wake of the Klonowski report to consider what steps need to be taken.
According to the authority’s chief executive Jim Wilkie the committee will be “driving forward the changes which need to be made in the way the council is managed and in the organisational culture”.
The committee will include five cabinet members, including council leader Steve Foulkes who has also asked the leaders of the Conservatives, Jeff Green and the Lib Dems Tom Harney, to take part as “co-opted” members – able to speak but not vote.
Among the first items to consider is a report by Mr Wilkie which recommends a series of measures, which also include a review of the authority’s internal audit service and legal services as well as the new turnaround team and policy unit.
A council spokeswoman said final details of the council’s plans, including the membership of the turnaround team, were still being worked on ahead of the first meeting.
But in his report Mr Wilkie said one of the turnaround team’s jobs – if approved – will be to review all reports submitted by officers to any council committee over the last three months “to identify opportunities for improvement”.
Mr Wilkie also said the proposed policy unit would play a key role in improvements within the council.
He said: “The policy function sits at the heart of setting the authority’s future direction and must ensure that the authority is aware of, and is responding to, changing circumstances whether as a result of new legislation, social or economic changes or whatever other reason.
“It is also critical that we ensure that when we agree to introduce new policies that they are appropriately implemented and that their impact is monitored and evaluated.”
The Klonowski report was commissioned as an independent review into the allegations by former social services employee Martin Morton, with much of the results of that yet to be released.
However, shortly after the highly critical section dealing with “corporate governance” was published the council’s ruling cabinet resolved “to accept the criticisms unreservedly and the recommendations designed to help the council move forward”.