Government intervenes over serious financial management problems at Thurrock Council

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

Essex County Council has been appointed to the role of Commissioner and Inspector of Best Value, giving them full control of the financial functions of Thurrock Council and the power to assess whether there are any failings in other functions to mitigate any additional risk to the Services.

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

This decision responds to serious concerns about the exceptional level of financial risk and debt incurred by the council.

Greg Clark said: “Given the serious financial situation of Thurrock Council and its potential impact on local services, I believe there is a need for government action.

“I strongly believe that when a council gets into trouble, their local government neighbors should be the go-to source of help to turn it around.

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

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

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

The best value review will examine the board’s governance, audit (internal and external), risk management, oversight and review functions, and examine their impact on service delivery.

Geraldine L. Melton