Agenda item

Progress on Thurrock Council's Improvement and Recovery


The Leader introduced the report and stated that the report is to look at where we are now and what the Council has been doing under intervention to date. The Leader highlighted that the report backs up the message that the Council is now in recovery and not crisis. Changes and Improvements have been made to Governance and the way reports are written and brought to Cabinet has changed to allow for better scrutiny. In terms of finance, a clear path has now been set. There will still be some hard decisions to make. There has also been a culture change in the way officers and Members interact.


Councillor Carter commented on page 24 that in the list of achievements to date report writing training to senior offices is included however this has not been completed.


Councillor Arnold responded that this was due to be finished by the end of this month. The template of the reports is changing and will be looked at in addition to the training programme. The aim is to improve the substance of reports as well as understanding how to write them.


Councillor Coxshall highlighted that it was important the report gets to Full Council as soon as possible so all members can get their teeth into it and ask questions. He commented that it was positive that this report will be provided quarterly for the benefit of residents too.


Councillor Johnson echoed Councillor Coxshall’s comments and noted that the Commissioners Comments were absent from the report and it would have been beneficial for the Commissioners comments to have been provided.


The Leader responded that the Commissioners are in the process of preparing a report for Full Council.


Councillor Maney commented that it was important to state that the improvement plan is being worked on every day. Councillor Maney queried if the Constitution Working Group had sat yet as there were serious failings with regard to the Constitution.


Councillor Arnold responded that the Constitution Working Group has met once, the terms of reference has been agreed and an Officer’s Constitution Working Group has also been established.


The Interim Director of Legal and Governance and Monitoring Officer confirmed the meetings are now in pace and they will be going through each part of the Constitution. The first meeting discussed the financial regulations and a report will be brought to Full Council shortly once the Constitution Working Group and General Services Committee have agreed the changes.


Councillor Snell queried if the Leader had found attending the staff roadshow beneficial.

The Leader responded that it had been really useful and commented that one team had come back with a report on how they can make savings and work better and it was really exciting to see this.


The Head of HR, Resourcing and Improvement stated that ongoing focus groups and feedback loops are in place as the Council goes through this process.


Councillor Arnold added that in terms of Governance and the project book, work is being completed on a live version. Councillor Arnold commented that they have been engaging with the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny and PWC.






          That Cabinet:


1.1          Note the progress made on the Council’s improvement and recovery.


1.2          Agree to receive quarterly reports on progress.


1.3          Note the work to develop an enhanced Improvement and Recovery Plan.


1.4          Refer this report to Full Council for all Members to consider and comment on the progress to date.


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