Statement from Council Leader in response to BBC Panorama programme

1 August 2023

Full statement from Council Leader Andrew Jefferies in response to the BBC Panorama programme about Thurrock Council broadcast yesterday (31 July 2023).

Cllr Andrew Jefferies, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: "As a council we recognise that things went very wrong and our focus is on taking the necessary action to put that right.

"The Best Value Inspection report is clear that there were substantial systemic and cultural issues which created a situation in which there was a lack of governance, oversight and transparency. We fully acknowledge the findings of this report and are committed to making sure that lessons are learnt.

"I am deeply sorry for the shocking and unacceptable failings of the past. A lot of work is already progressing, as acknowledged by the inspectors in the Best Value Inspection report sent to the Secretary of State.

"We are determined to build on this as we continue to work with commissioners to drive improvement and return to financial sustainability. We are taking all appropriate action to recover the council’s financial position while ensuring that we protect vulnerable residents and essential services.

"All councillors, including me, must take ownership of our recovery plans and work together to ensure we deliver the best outcomes for the borough and its residents. We will remain accountable throughout this journey and keep residents informed along the way.

"There are some legal considerations that we cannot go into further at this stage as discussing them publicly could jeopardise actions that are beneficial to the council tax payers of Thurrock. As soon as we are in a position to say more we will ensure that our residents are updated."