Liverpool City Council, Part Deux

Finally reading the Liverpool inspector’s review, here are my notes and links. …

The report and comment

  1. Liverpool City Council Best Value Inspection December 2020-March 2021, i.e. the Report
  2. The Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament in response to the Best Value Inspection Report regarding Liverpool City Council.
  3. Government intervenes to send taskforce into ‘dysfunctional’ Liverpool, from the Guardian
  4. Starmer to back Whitehall takeover of Liverpool, enraging the Labour left, from the London Economic, big quote from the LibDems for some reason.
  5. Labour is wrong to back Robert Jenrick’s Liverpool power-grab, by Andrew Adonis. He, of course, defends Mayors; he invented them, but this, “It is equally a mistake for Labour, as Liverpool’s currently leading political party, to support such a move at national level, even for an interim period. It is an admission of incapacity as well as a denigration of local democracy. ” is unexpected wisdom.
  6. Labour backs Jenrick in appointing commissioners to Liverpool City Council, from Labour List. Elliot Chapel summarises the report by quoting Jenrick and Labour’s Steve Reed and an unnamed spokesperson of the NEC.

The commissioners

  1. https://www.linkedin.com/in/max-caller-3459719/?originalSubdomain=uk
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mervyn-greer-782a475/
  3. https://www.nereo.gov.uk/associates/vivienne-geary/, I think this is her, from https://www.nereo.gov.uk/

Other resources

  1. Local Government Association Model Councillor Code of Conduct 2020
  2. Liverpool City Council’s Whistleblowing Policy, “All whistleblowing referrals are confidential and will be treated sensitively. We will channel them to the most appropriate officer and will keep you informed of who is dealing with the referral and how.” – Well that’s alright then?
  3. The ∛ rule suggests that Liverpool City Council should have 78 councillors, although it also suggests that London should have 207 not 25. We should note that the UK has less local politicians than many other democracies and the House of Lords is not elected.

Interesting para’s

  1. 2,8 – 2.10 The Commissioner’s Bios
  2. 2.18 need permission from SoS to sell housing land at less than best value rate
  3. 2.19 convert land to revenue FFS 😡
  4. 3.4 overseas students, this will drop surely
  5. 3.10 FMS – what is a “head of paid services”? Why only three statutory officers? This is the only mention of the Council’s Monitoring Officer to note that they are not part of the senior management team b ut work for the Director of Finance, which I agree is odd and sub optimal.
  6. 3.21 The financial statement for LFH discloses a loss of £0.7m on a turnover of £0.3m in its first year of trading. Ooops 😤
  7. 5.7 Is the conclusion of “rule avoidance” justified by the evidence quoted?
  8. 6.8 On Land Disposal, seems pretty damning
  9. 9.1 – 9.4 – the evidence is not quantified, deals with gifts and hospitality for officers and councillors, breach of conflict of interests, and accuses the Mayor of illegally usurping the Chief Executive’s powers.
  10. 9.6 long documents delivered late … what like the withdrawal agreement
  11. 9.8 on the independence of the audit committee and the appointment of independent members as a follow up to facts about the Mayor and Officer’s attendance at Audit Committee. There are lessons for the Labour Party here and probably Parliament.
  12. 9.17 on Boundaries and elections, predicts that the Mayor’s will reduce work load. It increases case work because they’ve fuck all else to do, also
  13. 9.18 the justification for moving from ⅓ councillors elected three years our of 4. (Actually quite interesting … the frequency of an election purdah vs the consistency of the executive (& officers)) and the concept of a collective mandate with the Mayor allowing a potential ‘reset’ effect.
  14. 11.3 Recommendations, including a file management system FFS 😵 Also I quote the first part of 11.3 here on my blog.

Notes

  1. A £500,000 threshold for an officers authority means more in Liverpool than even Lewisham because the land values are so much lower. (Is this true? I checked on Rightmove and much of what £½m buys is the same unattractive shite as in Lewisham, albeit many more rooms.)
  2. Is this a conspiracy? Answering this question is one for the police but whatever the answer, the need for a robust gifts and hospitality policy and register is axiomatic.

Conclusions

  1. Why keep a Mayoral system? What I said three years ago.
  2. How do you recall a Mayor?
  3. The Mayoral system embeds the power of Officers
  4. The Mayoral systems separation of powers is between the Mayor and CEO; we are expecting civil servants to hold them to account
  5. Where was the Monitoring Officer?
  6. Where is the Audit Commission?
  7. Is the Labour Party suitable given these two rules, also , we need to ask ourselves about “comradely behaviour”?
    1. C12.I.B.i 2020 The content of internal discussion is not for communication outside the Party, and internal disputes that are aired in the public domain will be subject to disciplinary action.
    2. Chapter 12.XI 2020 is bit of a gem also – dealing with representing constituents against the Party line, and issues of conscience, such as temperance but also guarantees a free vote on issues of scrutiny or in quasi-judicial decisions which is most of them in a Mayor led authority.

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