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Birmingham City Council

Volume 584: debated on Tuesday 22 July 2014

In her oral statement today on the report into allegations concerning Birmingham schools, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education told the House that to address the wider weaknesses that have been highlighted in Birmingham’s governance culture I have agreed with the leader of the city council, Sir Albert Bore, that there should be a review of governance in the city council. Sir Albert and I have asked Sir Bob Kerslake to lead the review, with such support as he considers appropriate, and which will be undertaken with the full co-operation of the city council. Sir Bob will report to me and Sir Albert by December 2014.

The review will consider the operation, culture, and structures of the corporate governance arrangements at the heart of the city council. It will assess their effectiveness and appropriateness for supporting the leadership and local service delivery needed to secure the future prosperity of England’s second city and the well-being of all who live, work, or visit there, and make recommendations.

We have asked Sir Bob in particular to make recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the city council’s corporate governance arrangements, both in the short and medium term.

If Birmingham is to achieve its potential as a diverse, vibrant city of opportunity for all its people, this will be possible only with strong and effective civic leadership which commands the confidence of all communities. The city’s democratically elected leadership has a central role to play which needs the support of effective, transparent, and accountable governance arrangements throughout the council.

Strong and effective civic leadership equally needs the involvement of community leaders across the city. Accordingly, the Government welcome the council’s own Trojan horse review group’s recommendation that a strong civic leadership group be established with a range of credible and independent voices to drive and maintain momentum on building integrated communities for all. This has the potential to transform today’s situation, creating a city where all communities can have confidence in the future and the opportunities it will bring for them.