Council is out of special measures

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles

Doncaster Council has been taken out of special measures after four years, Government minister Eric Pickles has announced.

The Communities Secretary said in 2010 a team of three commissioners were appointed to oversee governance at the authority following “serious concerns” about the operation and performance of the authority.

A report by the Audit Commission at the time said councillors and senior officers failed to run the council properly, put political feuding before providing good services, and allowed bullying and intimidation to flourish.

It concluded: “The people of Doncaster are not well-served by their council.”

In a written statement to MPs, Mr Pickles said he was now “revoking” the intervention to “end the statutory corporate governance intervention in Doncaster”.

Children’s services are run independently of the council by the newly-formed Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, which Mr Pickles said was a key reason for the “early close” of intervention measures.

He said: “In June of this year, a Local Government Association Peer Challenge found that the council’s performance had materially improved, both politically and managerially.

“The council was no longer an outlier in terms of the performance expected of a local authority, except with regard to children’s services which have now been transferred to the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust.”

He added: “This shows that such a targeted approach to intervention can turn around a dysfunctional mayoral administration.”