Agenda item

Corporate Governance Improvement Journey – CIPFA findings and next steps


The Mayor thanked CIPFA for their report as presented at Agenda Item 3 and commented that this was an opportunity to start the process of creating the most effective, constructive, challenging and strong Council in the country.  The Mayor also urged all present to agree the recommendations proposed by CIPFA in order to move forward and become a Council that set the standard for others to follow.


The Executive Member for Finance and Governance presented the joint report of the Mayor and the Chief Executive which summarised the findings of the independent diagnostic work completed by CIPFA and the proposed next steps.


It was proposed that a politically balanced Improvement Board consisting of Statutory Officers, Elected Members, CIPFA representatives, and an independent Chair would have responsibility for agreeing, delivering and reporting an action plan to improve governance across the Authority.  Wider groups of Members and Officers would be involved in task and finish sub-groups as the improvement plan developed to ensure wide engagement in the improvement journey.  The Executive Member had received nominations for all sub-groups and confirmed that the details would be circulated to all Members. 


Councillor M Storey referred to the CIPFA report findings and stated that nobody should have to come into their place of work in fear or trepidation of being bullied.  The fact that this had been highlighted was a stain on the Council and Members would do everything they could to ensure Officers felt supported at all times.   Councillor Storey also commented that the Board and Sub Groups were the right way to progress and the Labour Group would support this process wholeheartedly.


Responding in relation to a query regarding the percentage of people interviewed by CIPFA, the Executive Member stated that responsibility for the review was delegated to CIPFA and he was confident that CIPFA’s findings were accurate.  


Regarding the response times from Officers to Members’ queries, the Executive Member commented that Officers were doing the best they could under immense pressure.  However, improvement in this area could be discussed as part of the improvement plan.


Councillor C Hobson stated that the Middlesbrough Independent Group (MIG) understood the seriousness of the situation, wished to think positively about moving forward and urged all present to agree with the recommendations in the Report.   


The Executive Member for Environment, speaking on behalf of Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA) stated that the group were looking forward to working with everyone and building bridges.  The Executive Member proposed that the membership of the sub groups should be extended to include one place for Conservatives on each sub group.


On a vote being taken, it was ORDERED that the proposed membership of the sub groups was amended to include one allocated place on each sub group for Conservatives. 


Some further discussion took place amongst Members in relation to the amended membership of the sub-groups and the issue of proportionality.  The Mayor thanked Members for their comments and stated whilst there could be follow up conversations,  the vote had now been taken.


ORDERED as follows that Council:

1.   Thanked CIPFA for their report and accepted all findings set out within it.

2.  Agreed the creation of the Improvement Board and its proposed membership as set out in the body of the submitted report at paragraph 22.

3.   Agreed the creation of the Improvement Board sub-groups and their proposed membership, as set out in the body of the report at paragraph 25, with the addition of one place allocated to Conservatives on every sub-group.

4.   Endorsed the further commissioning of CIPFA to support work to develop a detailed response plan.

5.  Agreed that the developed plan would be reported to Council for noting in November 2022.

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