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News Report Page 8 of 18
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Next steps outlined following Best Value inspection

LIVERPOOL City Council has outlined the next steps following the publication of a report by Government Inspector, Max Caller CBE, into its Highways, Regeneration and Property Management functions. He found failings in relation to land disposal, governance and the relationship between elected members and officers, and makes a series of recommendations to tackle them. This includes sending commissioners to support the work of Officers and Councillors after the local elections in May, and a move to all out elections every 4 years. Mr Caller has made it clear that he believes the organisation has already taken steps to address the issues, since the arrival of Chief Executive Tony Reeves in 2018. The Council has pledged to address all of the concerns raised and continue its journey of improvement, and will respond to the Government by 24 May 2021.

This includes:-

Restructuring the regeneration department and implementing a new file management system to improve transparency around decision making, within the next 6 months.

Changes to highways operations, contract commissioning and audit and governance rules in the Council's constitution, within a year.

New governance for the Council's wholly owned companies in the next 2 years.

Over the next 3 years, an improvement plan will be delivered, as well as a programme of cultural change across the organisation. A move to 4 yearly all out elections and a potential reduction of Councillor number and wards will also be implemented from 2023.

Acting Mayor, Cllr Wendy Simon and Chief Executive Tony Reeves, said:- "There is a collective commitment from both Councillors and officers to learn from the failings highlighted in this report. We would like to reassure all residents and businesses that we will take action to address all of the issues highlighted. We know we need to rebuild your trust. It is reassuring that the Inspector believes we have made progress in starting to deliver the wholesale changes needed. A detailed improvement plan is being drawn up and will be implemented in full. We will be open and transparent about the progress we are making on each of the recommendations. This includes restructuring the organisation to strengthen our governance and ensure our work is aligned with our Pandemic Recovery Pledges and the City Plan. At the same time, we will ensure we keep delivering essential services and offering a helping hand to the people of our City."

Local and Mayoral elections will take place as planned, on Thursday, 6 May 2021, and people are being urged to register to vote or apply for a postal or proxy vote at:- Liverpool.Gov.UK/Elections.

Public good purchasing could generate billions for disadvantaged communities

PUBLIC bodies and housing associations are being urged to use their purchasing power to tackle inequality within local communities in a new guide published, on Monday, 29 March 202, by the BetterForUs Campaign 2020 to 2024.

'Procurement for Community Public Good'
provides a route map to how commissioners and communities can collaborate to deliver change across the UK through the adoption of fair procurement principles.

The Guide highlights how Authorities can make use of existing laws to tackle disadvantage. It also pinpoints the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals in developing coherence and consistency in delivering public value commissioning across the UK.

The Guide is published in advance of:- 'BetterForUs' research which shows that commissioners are not effectively making use of existing powers within current procurement law.

Regulation 20 of the Public Contracts Regulation 2015 and Regulation 21 of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations provide that commissioning bodies can reserve contracts for positive action programmes and organisations that tackle disadvantage.

Between 2015 to 2020 only 8 organisations chose to make use of such provision, with Scotland and Wales leading the way and England and Northern Ireland falling behind.

The UK Government is currently reviewing procurement law which is a devolved matter in the UK and the:- 'BetterForUs' Campaign is urging it to retain positive action programmes as an integral part of levelling up.

Katharine Sutton, Director of BetterForUs said:- "Lack of investment in the everyday economy is leading to neglected communities and widening inequalities within the community. Public commissioners can help shape local markets and connect them to the needs of people thereby strengthening public services and building community resilience. If only 1% of the procurement spend in the UK was reserved for positive action employment programmes this would generate ₤2.9 billion for local communities. Now is the time for public Authorities and housing associations to maximise their public spend by providing sustainable employment with fair pay and conditions where people are treated with respect."


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