Statement on publication of commissioners' second report

5 October 2023

Thurrock Council's Leader has responded to the latest report about the intervention and improvement at the council following publication of a report by Commissioners today (Thursday 5 October).

The report is available online at GOV.UK: Commissioners' second report. The ministerial response to the Commissioner's report is available at GOV.UK: Ministerial response to Commissioners' second report

The latest report is part of the intervention process at Thurrock Council that started last year on 2 September 2022. At that time, Commissioners were appointed by the Secretary of State to take full control of the financial functions of Thurrock Council and assess actions needed to limit any risks to our services.

Commissioners report the council's progress to the government's Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The report is positive about the progress being made to lay the foundations for improvement. It is also very clear on the huge scale of the journey ahead and that the road to recovery will be long.

A key element of the report confirms the way elections will be run in the future. Starting in 2025, elections will be held 'all out', meaning all 49 councillor posts will be up for election at the same time. The election in 2024 will be the last one to use the thirds system.

The announcement also set out that for the next stage of intervention, Essex County Council will exit from its role as Commissioner and Gavin Jones and Nicole Wood will join Dr Dave Smith as individual Commissioners. Gavin Jones will be Lead Commissioner and Nicole Wood will be Finance Commissioner. This Commissioner Team will provide continuity as we move to the next stage of the intervention.

Cllr Andrew Jefferies, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: "The recognition of the work underway is heartening and I am under no illusion about the challenges that lie ahead.

"We will continue to work with Commissioners to drive forward with the changes needed to shape our recovery. I am committed to working with elected Members and officer colleagues throughout this process to do everything it takes to rebuild our council. Under my leadership, the council will never repeat the mistakes of the past.

"I remain determined to protect vulnerable residents and ensure that essential services are delivered across the borough. Thurrock is a borough that will succeed and flourish. We want to be the energetic, hard-working and ambitious council local people need and deserve."

Chief Executive and Managing Director Commissioner, Dr Dave Smith, added: "This latest report provides further focus for the changes that are underway and that we will be making moving forwards for the good of the borough.

"My role as Commissioner and Chief Executive strengthens the collaborative approach between our council and the Commissioner Team as we've worked with government through the initial phases of intervention. We are advocating a one council approach to instil best practice across the whole organisation. This will continue as we build a council fit for the future.

"We now need to accelerate the pace of change to create a united and efficient council that is sustainable over the long term, providing much needed stability for Thurrock."