Second progress report for Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel

The second progress update has been prepared for the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel. This sets out the city council’s progress in responding to recommendations made by Lord Kerslake’s report and provides an update on the organisation-wide change programme ‘Future Council’.

The Independent Improvement Panel will hold its next public meeting on 11 September. Council leader Sir Albert Bore, deputy leader Ian Ward and chief executive Mark Rogers will respond to questions from the panel and public, along with opposition leaders Cllrs Robert Alden and Paul Tilsley.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We have been working hard to make significant and sustainable progress at speed over the summer. Although it has been necessary to focus on change within the organisation, residents and our partners will also start to see improvements in the way we communicate and engage with them.

“One of the key challenges mentioned by Lord Kerslake’s report is the way we work with others and we are absolutely committed to working constructively with partners in setting up the combined authority and ‘Birmingham Partners’; we have not sought to take control but have worked collaboratively and supportively. Where we have taken the lead this has been at the behest of others.

“The political will to change remains strong and we are working harder and smarter to deliver the new type of local government the city needs and deserves. We will continue to work together to ensure we provide the best possible services for all our citizens, secure increased powers and funding for the region and improved community governance.”

Chief Executive Mark Rogers said: “I am pleased the panel has recognised the progress we have made in the last couple of months in terms of delivering the first stages of the Future Council programme. Both Lord Kerslake’s report and communications from the panel have been clear on the need for the council to change its culture, specifically around being more open and outward-facing, and we are seeing progress.

“The council is increasing its strategic capacity; additional funding from central government has made it possible to recruit at a faster pace and move the programme forward significantly.

“It is also vital that we communicate what we are doing to residents, partners and stakeholders and we therefore have a clear and targeted strategy for engaging with all these groups. We know our residents and partners are proud of Birmingham and we are determined to give them full confidence and trust in our organisation.”

For those unable to attend the meeting the council will be producing a live webcast: http://www.birmingham.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

Birmingham Partners – Birmingham City Partnership Group Update Briefing (Size: 318 Kb Type: PDF )

Future Council Programme Plan V0.4 (Size: 957 Kb Type: PDF )

Future Council Programme Action Plan Milestones V0.8 (Size: 301 Kb Type: PDF )

Future Council Programme Evaluation Model Draft V0.6 (Size: 141 Kb Type: PDF )

Future Council Programme Evaluation Framework Draft V0.7 (Size: 238 Kb Type: PDF )

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DCLG backs Future Council plan with £4.37m grant

Birmingham City Council is transforming itself as it addresses the challenges of delivering its programme of safeguarding, education and corporate governance improvements whilst also designing an organisation for the future – which reflects the changing nature of local government and its massively reduced funding.

It is, therefore, most welcome news that the council’s own plans and transformation resources are to be augmented by a grant of £4.37million from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This money has been provided to support the delivery of the city’s Future Council change programme, enabling even more to now be done, more quickly than originally anticipated.

A bid outlining the need for financial support was submitted to DCLG in June and a grant has been agreed to complement funds already identified by both the council and the Local Government Association to meet recommendations in the council’s improvement plan, the delivery of which is currently being overseen by the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel.

Specifically, the funding will help the council deliver on its medium-term Future Council plan by being used to fund additional staff capacity to ensure regular council business can continue as usual, provide specialist know-how not already within the council so helping to speed up existing improvement projects, and to fund extra improvement activity.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I am committed to delivering the improvements expected of us and I am pleased that the government has agreed to provide funds that will give even more impetus to the achievement of ambitions in our Future Council.

“Whilst we are making progress, these extra funds will undoubtedly help us to accelerate the delivery of the changes in organisational governance and capability that are required.

“It is encouraging that the DCLG has acknowledged this is something we were not able to do wholly within the council’s own limited resources and that it has endorsed our plans to modernise and create a council that is both fit and sustainable for the future.”

Response to BIIP assessment of progress

Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel letter to the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP

Response from Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore and Chief Executive, Mark Rogers.

“We accept that the council has taken some time to get out of the starting blocks in a number of areas but we are confident that we are now moving forward at pace and on all fronts.

“There will be an acceleration of the actions required over the summer, which will include progressing the recruitment of senior officers to increase strategic capacity; running networking events with partners to develop a shared and long-term vision for the city; and completing a programme of workshops across all service areas to develop our financial planning for both the short and longer term.

“We are pleased that the panel has recognised ‘encouraging  progress’ in relation to member roles and responsibilities in terms of employment and human resources; the reworking of district committee responsibilities; the reduction of scrutiny committees; the alignment of the Leader’s Policy Statement and Future Council programme; and the creation of a member development plan that is already being implemented.

“The leadership of the council is fully committed to this programme of wide-ranging a fundamental change and we are pleased the panel has accepted our reassurance on this and that pace will now increase in order for us to demonstrate significant progress by September.”

Media contact: Janet Priestley, Head of Press and PR 0121 303 3531.

News release: Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel assessment of Birmingham City Council progress