Major changes are happening at Thurrock Council to improve the way the organisation is managed, regain financial stability, and make the council fit for the future.
It is now a year since Thurrock Council was put into intervention by the Government, on 2 September 2022, in response to serious concerns about the council's financial situation.
The council has faced significant and well publicised challenges in the past year. During this time, much energy has been dedicated to making vital changes to how the council is run and starting a council-wide improvement process, the scale of which is vast and will take considerable time to complete.
The last 12 months have focused on understanding what happened, facing up to the issues that took the council into intervention, and moving on with the improvement journey. Council leaders have been working with the Government-appointed team of commissioners, who were given control of key council functions, to help the council back on the right track from day one of intervention.
As the council enters the second year of improvement action, the pace of change is increasing and the new shape for the council is beginning to form.
Council leader Councillor Andrew Jefferies said: "There is no denying the challenges we are dealing with are huge but so too is our determination to make the necessary change to evolve Thurrock Council into the efficient well-performing council that all our residents deserve.
"We are rebuilding our council and looking at every aspect of how we serve our borough. There’s no denying the magnitude of the challenges we have faced and continue to face, but there is also a genuine commitment to make things better working in partnership with local communities."
Dr Dave Smith was appointed Managing Director Commissioner and Chief Executive for Thurrock Council earlier in the year. Since joining the council 6 months ago, Dr Smith has focused on making immediate improvements and developing plans to support the council through necessary change.
Dr Smith said: "The changes we've made so far are fundamental to the success of the changes that are yet to come in the years ahead. The next steps in the improvement process will help us to understand and explore the full potential of what we can become as a council for the good of the borough. We'll be talking with everyone involved to make the most of valuable local knowledge and insight as we work together for a better future."
A range of council plans currently under development and review include updating how the council operates on a practical level, a financial strategy to recover as much former investment as possible while establishing the highest standards of financial management, and long-term improvement measures with a unified council approach.