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LGA RECOMMENDS TELFORD CHIEF EXEC TO ASSIST WALSALL

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Joint statement from Walsall MBC and Borough of Telford & Wrekin: ...
Joint statement from Walsall MBC and Borough of Telford & Wrekin:

Telford & Wrekin's chief executive Michael Frater is to assist Walsall MBC in taking the authority forward.

Mr Frater will be offering high level advice on dealing with the recommendations of the government and the Audit Commission following Walsall's recent corporate governance report.

The Borough of Telford & Wrekin chief executive was recommended to Walsall Council by the LGA.

Tom Ansell, Conservative leader at Walsall MBC, welcomed Mr Frater's involvement in the authority. He said: 'We recognise that the authority needs to change and there is much in the corporate governance report that we would agree with.

'However, we also have some concerns about some of the recommendations and very much welcome Michael's involvement to provide us with strategic advice to help us move forward positively and quickly.'

Mr Frater, who will start his work with Walsall shortly, will spend the next few months working with the authority on a part-time basis.

Telford & Wrekin's leader, Phil Davis, also voiced his support for the short-term arrangement. He said: 'We believe that it is important, as does the LGA, that local authorities help each other when they get into difficulties.

'Telford & Wrekin strongly believes in providing such support and is more than happy to help other local authorities, regardless of their political colours.'

The full costs of the arrangement will be met by the government and interim arrangements are being put in place at Telford & Wrekin to ensure that the overall management of the authority continues with the minimum of disruption.

Mr Frater said he was very happy to assist Walsall. He said: 'Having met the leading members of all three political parties at Walsall, I am convinced that they very much want to respond to the challenges they face in a positive way. I have been impressed by their strong focus on improving things for the benefit of the residents of Walsall.

'My role will be to advise the authority on a number of strategic issues, particularly responding to the government's requirements and bringing in a new management team, so that the council can move forward positively.

However, my first responsibility is to the Borough of Telford & Wrekin and I will ensure that the council's needs and best interests are not adversely affected by this arrangement.'

* ALACE URGES RETHINK ON WALSALL SACKING.

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