Council leader David Mellen has accused the Conservative Party of acting in its own interest as it emerged that commissioners could be called in by the government to intervene in the running of the agency. The Council leader has apologized to the people of Nottingham for “mistakes made in the past” but said in a stunning statement he didn’t see the need to involve commissioners.
Speaking after millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money had been “squandered” or pumped into doomed Robin Hood Energy, Cllr Mellen still maintained that the city council’s misfortune was due to Conservative cuts and that the decision to lose commissioners send out that a distraction technique is effective.
The agency is already overseen by a government-appointed body chaired by Sir Tony Redmond following the collapse of Robin Hood Energy in January 2020. In May of this year it became known that up to 40 million were spent on the wrong services.
Council tenants’ rent – which should have been pumped into council housing and repairs – has been funneled into general council services. The Penn report, commissioned by the council, says the money was misspent and in some cases used to prop up other community services and avoid job losses.
The government intended to send commissioners to Nottingham City Council – read more here.
Nottingham’s Broadmarsh Center almost completely demolished – read more here.
In a letter to Sir Tony Redmond published on Thursday June 23, MP Kemi Badenoch said that the Foreign Secretary for the Department for Leveling, Housing and Communities “is willing to intervene in the Council’s case”. Sir Tony Redmond currently chairs a government-appointed body to oversee the council.
Cllr Mellen said: “It [Robin Hood Energy] didn’t work and we had to finish it. You can’t just take a quarter of our budget and expect things to continue as normal – the context in which we operate is important.
“We do not agree that this is a necessary step – we have shown significant improvements but this is a step the Government has taken. It has far more to do with the fate of the Conservative Party than Nottingham – it is no coincidence that this came out on the same day as by-elections in Wakefield and Tiveton and Honiton.
“I have apologized many times for mistakes in the past, I did so many times when the concerns about Robin Hood Energy first surfaced, and I am not afraid to apologize again to the people of Nottingham. It’s not something I want to do, but it’s not something I’m afraid of.”
He added: “This is a council committed to getting our finances under control. We will work with those commissioners when they come, although we don’t see it as a necessary step.”
Mr Mellen told Nottinghamshire Live that he didn’t think the commissioners would carry out Nottingham City Council’s normal services, such as It’s also unclear how large projects like the Broad Marsh area rehabilitation will be affected.
He believes the mistakes made in the past are because councils were encouraged to be commercial by previous Conservative governments, ultimately leading to failed companies like Robin Hood Energy.
When a local authority fails to demonstrate its ability to effectively improve its own governance and finances, Best Value Commissioners are dispatched. They act as advisors who typically have extensive experience and knowledge of public sector roles such as police forces and local authorities.
Councilor Andrew Rule, leader of the Conservative Party in Nottingham, said: “I am very disappointed to read the Labor Group’s statement on today’s events which is quite unrealistic about the unlawful spending in recent times so it is not correct to trying to disguise them and blame the conservatives.
“They absolutely let Nottingham down. The Council has had numerous opportunities to reform, which it has not – we are now in a situation where we have run out of time.”
The current Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council is Mel Barrett, who was appointed in May 2020, replacing Ian Curryer. He admitted that City Council faced a “significant challenge” in an interview with Nottinghamshire Live in January 2021, but added: “I’m up for the challenge and I think the political leadership is up for the challenge and what we’re up to.” what it takes is to develop that recovery plan and then implement it.”
In a statement released after the latest news, Mr Barrett said: “We have made good progress on our recovery and improvement plan over the last 18 months, working closely with the independent Improvement and Quality Assurance Council appointed by the Government to monitor its implementation.
“We have had a positive relationship with the board and its chairman, Sir Tony Redmond. The appointment of Sir Tony as Chief Commissioner therefore provides security and continuity. This, and the fact that Commissioners have been appointed for two years instead of the usual three, is a recognition of the progress we have already made over the past 18 months.”
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