The Kerslake Review: What’s It All About?


The Leader of the City Council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government called for an independent review of Birmingham City Council.

Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary in Department for Communities and Local Government, will lead the review and report back to the Leader of the City Council and Secretary of State by 31 December 2014. The review will examine both the governance and organisational capabilities of the council with a view to making a series of recommendations on the economic and service delivery capabilities of the council.

In conducting this review:

  • Sir Bob has appointed an advisory panel to support him throughout the review, which will spend 5 days in Birmingham between September-December to conduct interviews and hold evidence gathering sessions.
  • the panel will meet with Sir Bob on a regular basis
  • Sir Bob will hold an open call for evidence as well as talking to key organisations in local government, including officials and politicians in Birmingham City Council, the Local Government Association, Members of Parliament and other relevant parties
  • Birmingham City Council will provide support to the team working with Sir Bob, in particular sharing financial plans, past and present
  • Birmingham City Council will loan a team leader to join the Birmingham team for the period of this review

The panel that has been appointed are:

  • Deborah Cadman, OBE (Chief Executive, Suffolk County Council)
  • Carolyn Downs (Chief Executive, Local Government Association)
  • Councillor Sir Steve Houghton (Labour, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Cudworth Ward)
  • Councillor Mehboob Khan (Political Advisor to London Councils / Labour, Kirklees Council, Greenhead Ward)
  • Joanne Roney, OBE (Chief Executive, Wakefield Council)
  • Donna Hall (Chief Executive, Wigan Council)
  • Councillor David Simmonds (Conservatives, Hillingdon London Borough Council, Ickenham Ward); and
  • Councillor Howard Sykes (Liberal Democrats, Oldham Council, Shaw Ward)

The review will consider the operation, culture and structure of the corporate governance arrangement at the heart of the City Council. It will look at their effectiveness and appropriateness for supporting the leadership and local service delivery needed to secure the future propensity of the City, and the wellbeing of all who live, work, or visit there. Sir Bob will make recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the City Council’s corporate governance arrangements both in the short and medium term.

The following lines of inquiry will be pursued:

  • structure and size of Birmingham City Council
  • clarity of strategic leadership and direction
  • managerial capacity to deliver the council’s priorities
  • role of the council in representing the community
  • financial planning and sustainability in the medium and long term
  • performance management and accountability
  • the council’s approach to partnership

Contact details for responses


Twitter @KerslakeReview