|The Tory Ant & Dec of Peterborough without the gags..|
We are indebted to trialbyjeory for this valuable insight into the appointment of Commissioners to run Tower Hamlets. Perhaps after the terrible 'slash and burn' Budget cuts taken by the Cabinet of the current 'No Overall Control' Peterborough City Council, the Commissioners should step in to our Town Hall to sort out the mess?
The consultation went through the motions, less than 300 responses, no changes made to the draft proposals, all passed with little comment. No way will the current administration under the Dear Leader ever get get on top of the massive debt the Peterborough City Council is seeking to cover. Too many pet projects already ringfenced. Interestingly the history of the two administrations seems to run on parallel tracks...
Tower Hamlets Commissioners announced: Welcome, Sir Ken Knight and ex-sewer inspector Max Caller
They are Sir Ken Knight, who will be the lead Commissioner, and Max Caller. The third will be announced in due course.
Both Sir Ken and Mr Caller are heavy-hitters.
Sir Ken is the better known nationally, while Mr Caller has a huge reputation as a local government Mr Fixit man: he was in charge of Hackney council from 2000-04 when that authority was being transformed under special measures.
First, Sir Ken:
He’s currently a director of his own consultancy company, Ken Knight Consulting Ltd, having retired from the fire service.
He has a distinguished career. He oversaw the London Fire Brigade as London Fire Commissioner from 2003-07, including during the July 7 terror attacks.
Since that stint ended in 2007, he has worked on a number of high profile projects for central governments, both in the UK and abroad. In Britain, he worked until last year as the Government’s first Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.
He wrote the Rising to the Challenge report on the 2007 floods and was in charge of the review into the Lakanal House fire disaster in Camberwell in 2009.
And last year, he completed the cost-saving review of England’s 46 fire authorities, which found £200million could be saved.
You can see why ministers like him. Unions have a different opinion. How Lutfur Rahman and he will get along is anyone’s guess. However, Lutfur’s mentor Ken Livingstone did once have a legal run-in with him in 2007.
A bombshell report last month found the council flouted spending rules, highlighting grants made against the advice of officials and the sale of the town hall to one of the mayor’s political supporters.
Mr Rahman strongly denies doing anything wrong and the council stresses that no evidence of criminality has been found.
Sir Ken said: “We are determined to restore faith in how Tower Hamlets operates. Local people deserve a council that not only makes decisions in an accountable and transparent way but also with the benefit of all residents in mind.
“Today marks the start of a long but necessary journey to ensure public confidence in the council is restored, community cohesion maintained and that Tower Hamlets is no longer a by-word for poor governance.”
In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Pickles said: “I remain satisfied that the Council is failing to comply with its best value duty. It is disappointing that there is a culture of denial in the mayoral administration about its systematic failures.”
The Cabinet minister said safeguards must be taken against corruption in local government.
He went on: “But this is not just about the money. The abuse of taxpayers’ money and the culture of cronyism reflects a partisan community politics that seeks to trade favours and spread division on the rates.
“Such behaviour is to the detriment of integration and community cohesion in Tower Hamlets and in our capital city. This remains my view.”
Sources: CNS, Evening Standard, trialbyjeory. ItalyToday, and PA