Report into governance at Northumberland County Council due in weeks

A date has been set for a long-awaited review into governance at Northumberland County Council to be presented to councillors and made public.

By James Robinson
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 2:42 pm

An extraordinary meeting of the full council has been called for June 8, and it has been confirmed the report is set to be presented to members during a public session at county hall in Morpeth.

In February, local government enforcer Max Caller was drafted in to lead the review at the council.

Mr Caller was previously brought in to produce reports on the bankrupt Conservative-led Northamptonshire County Council and Labour-led Liverpool City Council.

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Council leader Glen Sanderson.

Council leader Glen Sanderson has repeatedly insisted that the review is much needed and long overdue. Speaking at May’s meeting of the full council, he said: “Last May I said I want to have an independent review of the council.

“We haven’t had one for five years, and we’ve finally got it and we will have the results of that soon.”

Coun Sanderson has also pledged to review the council’s senior management structure following the review, with a £1 million saving in wages identified in the council’s budget approved earlier this year. It came after the Taxpayer’s Alliance revealed the council was paying 20 high-up employees more than £100,000 a year – the highest of any council in the North East.

There are currently a number of interim officers in place in top positions at the council on high wages, and it is anticipated that these roles will be replaced with permanent staff on more reasonable pay packages.

It followed a number of scandals in recent years, beginning when chief executive Daljit Lally OBE was placed on “extended leave” after raising whistleblowing concerns.

She later returned to work after council leader Peter Jackson lost a vote of no confidence in September of the same year, losing by a single vote after members of his own administration turned against him.