Council leader gives vote of thanks after Minister praises ‘significant improvements’ at authority

Cllr Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Simon Hoare MP, has paid tribute to 'significant improvements' at Sandwell Council.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the governance of Sandwell Council, he said: “I want to pay tribute to the current leadership of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

“Significant improvements have been made, which have allowed the commissioners to continue to refer, in their published reports to the Department, to clear trajectories of improvement.

“That means not just improvements in the output of service to those who are most in need, but a significant step change in the way in which the council has ordered and organised itself and its approach to governance.”

Government intervention at Sandwell Council started on 22 March 2022. The Minister went on to describe what will happen when intervention ends:

“When the position of the commissioners ceases—and we will be looking to that in due course—the Local Government Association will continue to work with the council to ensure that that path of progress, that path of improvement, which I am hopeful and confident that local residents have started to see or will soon start to see, is continued.”

In response to the parliamentary debate, the Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, said: “Sandwell is a great place full of people who look out for each other and get things done.

“As one of the largest councils in the country, we serve more than 340,000 residents, and whilst it’s not our normal way to shout about ourselves, we’re proud that in our recent survey our residents scored us 5% higher than the national benchmark for overall satisfaction levels with the way the council is run.

“From our work to support vulnerable children and adults to maintaining our highways and parks, we’re always looking to deliver the best possible services for our community.

“I want to thank the Minister for his positive comments about the progress and improvements we have made in Sandwell.

“There has been a huge amount of work to get us to this point. We are not just aiming to be good enough to get out of intervention but are striving for excellence. I want to thank council officers for their efforts and the Commissioners for the constructive way in which they have approached their role.”

Responding to other points raised in the debate, Councillor Carmichael said: “We are driving up educational attainments levels and are seeing improvements from early years through to sixth form. We are bucking the national trend in school attendance with fewer absences from children in both primary and secondary schools. We have also opened seven family hubs over the last year to give children the best possible start in life.

“We’ve opened the Sandwell Aquatics Centre and we are delivering more than 4,000 new homes and supporting more than 15,000 jobs through our pipeline of almost 70 regeneration projects.

“To help deliver this, we’ve secured £145m from the Government for regeneration schemes, showing we’re trusted to deliver on our hugely ambitious plans for our borough. We are grateful for the positive relationship we have built with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as we regularly report our progress on delivering these schemes. These are being delivered together with our partners and community stakeholders, and our focus will always be on delivering the best for our residents.

“We know that all of this is only possible when we get the basics right. That’s why we’ve had a real focus on our governance over the last two years and I am pleased that the significant progress we’ve made has been recognised by our external auditors, the Commissioners and now the Minister for Local Government.

“We will continue to work hard to unlock the amazing potential here in Sandwell.”


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