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Javid seeks 'urgent update' from Birmingham's improvement panel

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Communities secretary Sajid Javid has written to the chair of the improvement panel at Birmingham City Council to request an “urgent update” following recent “significant developments”.

Last month panel chair John Crabtree wrote to Mr Javid to propose that the panel step aside as a new senior management team and political stability had helped to create a positive “broad direction of travel” at the council.

Mr Crabtree previously said positive working between council leader John Clancy (Lab) and interim chief executive Stella Manzie meant “the prospects of further improvements are good”.

But recently leaked emails suggested there were tensions between Cllr Clancy and Ms Manzie over the city’s long-running bin strike.

In the emails, obtained by respected local blog The Chamberlain Files, Ms Manzie is reported to have warned Mr Clancy that the deal he agreed with Unite could lead to “major financial risk to the authority, breach of the Equality Act as well as trade union and workforce unrest”.

In today’s letter Mr Javid did not refer directly to the bin strike, but he wrote: “Clearly, there have been some significant developments in Birmingham since your letter which could have major implications for the governance of the council, and its financial position.

“I would therefore be grateful for an urgent update from the panel on recent events before I consider what steps may be appropriate for our work with the city council.”

Last week, Cllr Clancy praised Ms Manzie for her support after she extended her contract until Christmas.

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