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Chief executive of Liverpool council stands down

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The chief executive of a council which Government-appointed commissioners have been partially overseeing has announced he is standing down.

Commissioners were appointed to oversee parts of Liverpool City Council last year following an inspection report.

The report, which found allegations of bullying and intimidation, was carried out after then-mayor Joe Anderson was  arrested, along with a number of other people, as part of a Merseyside Police fraud investigation.

A second report from the commissioners was due to be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in June.

The sun rises behind the Liverpool waterfront across the River Mersey (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA Archive)

On Monday, the Labour-run council’s chief executive Tony Reeves announced he would be standing down with immediate effect after four years at the authority.

He said: “The people of Liverpool deserve a council that delivers great services.

“That is a difficult and complex journey but it has begun and those with the honour of leading the next chapter have a great opportunity to make some long-lasting improvements, and I wish them all the success in the world.

“Yes, there will be setbacks, but I’m confident a solid platform is now in place to ensure the council can support the ambition for Liverpool to realise its full potential.”

The report into the council, carried out by local government inspector Max Caller and published last March, reported allegations of bullying, intimidation, “dubious” deals and “jobs for the boys”.

At the time it was published, Mr Reeves said much of the criticism was historic and things had started to change in a “significant way”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today last year: “Of course this is really shocking but no way is this a return to the 1980s – the city will come back from this very quickly and I will make sure that that happens.”

Mayor Joanne Anderson, who replaced Mr Anderson when he decided not to stand for election again following his arrest, said: “I want to thank Tony for his work over the past four years, in particular helping Liverpool City Council to navigate some difficult waters.

“I wish Tony well in the next stage of his career.

“Myself and the Cabinet look forward to working with new leadership on continuing our improvement journey and ensuring the council delivers for the people of Liverpool.”

Four commissioners were appointed last June to oversee the authority’s highways, regeneration and property management functions and improvement plan for three years.

A report was published covering the first three months of their work which found  despite evidence of “change”, there was a “somewhat frenetic rather than purposeful and targeted approach” and a “lack of prioritisation and planning”.

A second report was due to be submitted to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove in April, but it was agreed to delay the report until June.

Earlier this month, Mr Gove was sacked from the post by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and replaced by Greg Clark.

A spokesman for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “The second report by commissioners for Liverpool City Council will be considered by ministers and published alongside a ministerial response in due course.”

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