Sandwell Council: Commissioners brought in to oversee authority


Government officials are being brought in to address “the deep-seated culture of poor governance and leadership” at Sandwell Council.

The commissioners will also work to “restore public trust and confidence” in the Labour-run council.

Six different leaders have been in place at the Black Country authority in as many years and councillors have faced a number of misconduct claims.

The council said it had a clear plan to drive improvement.

A recent audit found evidence of poor behaviour and a lack of trust across the organisation. The council was said to be “insular and siloed” but improvements were also highlighted.

Current council leader Kerrie Carmichael said her vision for Sandwell was for a borough totally focused on residents’ needs.

“It’s welcome that external reviews have now recognised ‘green shoots’ of recovery are clearly visible. But we know there is much for us still to do, and we have a clear plan to drive improvement.”

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Analysis, Phil Mackie, BBC Midlands correspondent
Sandwell residents who have been following the authority’s recent struggles and damning reports will hope this intervention is successful.

Since the popular council leader Darren Cooper died suddenly aged 52 in 2016, there’s been near-constant change in leadership.

Today’s decision has seemed inevitable ever since the most recent critical report was published in December.

It’s unlikely to be a quick process. The commissioners have been put in place until May 2024, but it took three-and-a-half years for the situation in Rotherham to be turned around.

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The commissioners will remain until March 2024.

Ms Carmichael added: “We will of course work very closely with the government and all our partners to continue to progress and maintain our focus on delivering high-quality services our residents can rely on.”

  • Commissioners may help run troubled council
  • Labour leader seeks change at troubled council
  • Council leader resigns for ‘personal reasons’

Previously, Sandwell’s three Conservative MPs wrote a letter to the government to thank it for intervening in the council’s affairs, saying poor decisions and mismanagement had undoubtedly affected the lives of constituents.

On Tuesday, West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards said she was delighted by the announcement.

“Constituents who pay so much in council tax should not have to fight just to get a reply. Constituents should not have to wait years to be housed, many in desperate conditions,” she said.

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Olivia Wilson
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