Positive steps forward on improvement journey


Thursday, 14 March, 2024

The council has set out the positive steps it has taken on its journey towards financial sustainability and delivering best value for residents.

Following Government intervention last May, the council has made good progress against its Improvement and Recovery Plan, detailed in the 6 to 9 month progress report published yesterday (13 March). This includes:

  • Approving a legal budget for 2024/2025, showing Government and residents that the council is taking steps to get its own house in order and move towards financial sustainability. 
  • Developing comprehensive plans that enable the council to exit from its commercial investments in a way that delivers value for the public purse and reduces its debt levels. A significant asset sale has been agreed, with Victoria Gate having exchanged and completed in February 2024.
  • Proposal of a new meeting structure to improve effectiveness, openness and transparency of the council’s decisions making processes. 
  • Strengthening the council’s governance arrangements for its companies, including a proposal to replace the Shareholder Advisory Group with a new Shareholder Executive Committee. This new model will ensure the appropriate distinction between the council and its companies is in place, alongside greater accountability, and transparency.  
  • Completing the second phase of an organisation-wide staff restructure, ensuring that the council can focus on delivering essential services that make a difference to residents.
  • Plans to invest in a new Resident Services Programme, which will ensure the council has the right technology and capability to upgrade and maintain effective resident services. 
  • Responding quickly to the Housing Regulatory Notice and establishing an improvement programme – investing up to £16.8m in its housing stock and developing an efficient, reliable, and modern housing service.

The Leader of the Council, Ann-Marie Barker, said, “Although there is still much work to be done, and the council’s financial situation remains extremely challenging, we have made good progress over the last year.

“Through the hard work of council officers, alongside our open and collaborative work with commissioners and Government, we have set a legal budget and are now putting in place the right plans and policies to become a financially sustainable council, delivering services that matter to residents”. 

The Executive will consider the Improvement and Recovery Plan Update, alongside several other papers linked to the council’s improvement journey, when it meets on Thursday 21 March at 7pm.

Watch the Executive meeting online

Read the council's Improvement and Recovery Plan