Commissioners called in to rescue bankrupt council

By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
Commissioners have been called in by the Government to take over crisis-stricken Northamptonshire County Council.
Two former local government officials will be parachuted in to the council as part of an intervention package, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire announced.
Earlier this year, the Conservative-run council declared itself effectively bankrupt and unable to meet its financial obligations.This forced the implementation of emergency spending controls.A scathing independent report later judged the council had "lost tight budgetary control and appeared to abandon strong and effective budget setting scrutiny".The report also advised Northamptonshire County Council should be completely scrapped after the next local elections in May 2020, with the findings prompting the resignation of council leader Heather Smith.There are plans to replace the council with two new authorities.
Commissioners called in to rescue bankrupt council

James Brokenshire said he 'cannot ignore the scale of the problems'
Mr Brokenshire's predecessor Sajid Javid, who has since been appointed Home Secretary, had previously said he was minded to appoint commissioners to take over the council.The action was confirmed by Mr Brokenshire in a written statement to Parliament on Thursday.
He said: "Action of this kind is rare and is not taken lightly, but I simply cannot ignore the scale of the problems facing Northamptonshire."It is essential residents are able to have faith in their council, particularly in the responsible use of taxpayers' money."That's why I'm taking swift action by appointing commissioners who carry with them a wealth of experience."I am confident they will dedicate themselves to the task at hand."Tony McArdle, a former chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council, has been appointed lead commissioner; and Brian Roberts, a former deputy chief executive at Leicestershire County Council, has been appointed finance commissioner.
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They will initially take charge of Northamptonshire Council until the end of March 2021.Mr Brokenshire said he had not ruled out the possibility of further commissioners being appointed, if needed.
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