New government directions on intervention

24 January 2023

Proposed new directions on the government intervention at Thurrock Council have been received by the authority as it moves into the next phase of its recovery from serious financial difficulties.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has today (24 January) said he is "minded" to give Commissioners additional responsibilities for the management and governance of the council.

There will now be a 10-day "period of representation" when the council and local people can make comments and help shape the council's plans.

The council has already revealed it is in a very serious financial position, and will have to take urgent, concerted, and long-term action to get back to financial sustainability.

Today's letter and reports are the first time the council has seen in detail the early findings and conclusions of the Commissioners and their best value inspection team.

Thurrock Council's Acting Chief Executive, Ian Wake, said: "We have been working very closely and cooperatively with the government Commissioners and this will continue as their remit expands.

"The council is in a much better place than a few months ago at the start of the intervention, thanks to the hard work of our staff, Members, and the support of the Commissioners.

"We've put an initial Improvement and Recovery Plan in place that reflects the Commissioner's first report, and we are taking action to deal with our finances and changing the overall culture of the organisation.

"But we have been clear too that there are some very hard decisions to be made as we deal with our finances and agree how we can maintain our services to local people."

Council Leader, Cllr Mark Coxshall, said: "I made it very clear from the start of this that we will be open and transparent about the scope and impact of our financial position and honest about how we must transform the council’s approach and management. This latest news does not change that.

"I want to reiterate that my focus is on what matters to local people and to rebuild this council to provide efficient, effective and affordable services.

"I welcome The Secretary of State's commitment to giving the residents of Thurrock to their say on his proposals and I am keen to encourage local people to get involved in shaping the future of the council and the area."

The statement from the government can be viewed in full at UK Parliament: Statement made on 24 January 2023.