Government intervenes over serious financial management concerns at Thurrock Council

Local Government Secretary Greg Clark has today announced measures to intervene in Thurrock Council to address serious concerns about the financial management of the council and the risk this poses to local services.

Essex County Council has been appointed in the role of the commissioner and best value inspector, giving them full control of the financial functions of Thurrock Council and powers to assess whether there are failures in other functions to mitigate any further risk to services.

Thurrock Council will work with Essex County Council to prepare an improvement plan within the first three months of the intervention and is expected to provide a best value inspection report to the Secretary of State in the same time frame.

The move comes in response to grave concerns about the exceptional level of financial risk and debt incurred by the council.

Greg Clark said: “Given the serious financial situation at Thurrock Council and its potential impact on local services, I believe it is necessary for government to intervene.

“I strongly believe that when a council gets into difficulties its local government neighbours should be the preferred source of help in turning it around.

“I know that Essex County Council possesses the expertise and ability to help its local government neighbour.

“Working together, I believe the councils can deliver the improvements local people expect and deserve.”

In its role as commissioner, Essex County Council will take control of all the functions associated with the financial governance and scrutiny of strategic financial decision making by the authority.

The best value inspection will look into the governance, audit (internal and external), risk management, overview and scrutiny functions of the council, and consider their impact on service delivery.

Mick Ferris

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