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Improved Thurrock sheds board

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Thurrock Council has wound up its improvement board three years after the Audit Commission found it was not improving adequately and awarded it only two stars.

A report to the cabinet by leader John Kent (Lab) said the board has agreed that Thurrock’s work to focus on residents, improve leadership, raise performance and manage resources meant its oversight was no longer needed. Suffolk CC’s Andrea Hill acted as peer chief executive for Improvement East.

The board was set up during a confused period that saw Angie Ridgewell leave as chief executive after only two years.

She was briefly succeeded by legal services head Mike Rowan, who quit in March 2009, the same month that then leader Terry Hipsey defected from the Conservatives to Labour in the middle of a council meeting.

Bob Coomber then became interim chief, and Graham Farrant (pictured) took the post permanently last summer.

The council now has a minority Labour administration, sustained by Conservative dissidents.

In another sign of rising confidence in Thurrock, it will regain control of regeneration from Thurrock Thames Gateway Urban Development Corporation in April 2012.


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