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Northants commissioners revealed

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Former Lincolnshire CC chief executive Tony McArdle is to take over crucial powers at stricken Northamptonshire CC as a government-appointed commissioner.

Local government secretary James Brokenshire has followed the decision of his predecessor Sajid Javid to send in commissioners after a highly critical report on the council’s leadership and management by inspector Max Caller.

Mr Caller also said the council should be abolished and two new unitaries created in the county.

Brian Roberts, former deputy chief executive of Leicestershire CC, will work with Mr McArdle as finance commissioner.

Mr Brokenshire said: “Action of this kind is rare and is not taken lightly, but I simply cannot ignore the scale of the problems facing Northamptonshire.

“It is essential residents are able to have faith in their council, particularly in the responsible use of taxpayers’ money.”

The commissioners will take over governance and scrutiny, appointment of statutory officers and strategic financial management and are due to be in place until 31 March 2021.

Mr McArdle was chief executive at Lincolnshire 2005-18, taking over following a scandal in which former leader Jim Speechley (Con) had been jailed and chief executive David Bowles forced out for whistleblowing.

Before that he spent seven years as chief executive of Wellingborough BC.

He chaired the Association of County Chief Executives from 2015-17.

Mr Roberts (pictured) is an accountant and immediate past president of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

Brian roberts

Brian roberts

Northamptonshire’s leaderr Matthew Golby (Con), who took office after Mr Caller made his report, said: ”We very much welcome the intervention by the government in overseeing financial and governance arrangements at the council as this goes a long way in allaying uncertainty for staff and partners organisations.”

He added: “Both the council’s new-look Cabinet and the senior management team see this as an opportunity to bring improvements and we look forward to implementing some positive change.”

County Councils Network director Simon Edwards said both commissionersknow local government inside out and have proven themselves at successfully transforming the governance, organisation and financial management of local authorities in their previous roles.

”With their support Northamptonshire will be able to continue its journey to returning the authority to financial health.”

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