Government is taking 'a keen interest' in Cheshire East following recent scandals

The Government is taking a keen interest in Cheshire East Council and offering professional advice and support to enable them to move forward after recent scandals and ongoing police investigations.

Following a call from local campaign groups for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to put Cheshire East Council into Special Measures, the Department for Communities and Local Government have confirmed that are well aware of a number of issues and will be reviewing the situation regularly.

Residents and councillors have raised concerns about the way the Council is being administered which has resulted in a number of high profile errors including the deliberate and systematic falsification of air quality data the suspension of the CEO Mike Suarez, in April 2017 pending a police investigation, and Head of Legal Services Bill Norman, in July 2017, as well as several ongoing police investigations into Cheshire East's operations.

James Kingston, of the Department for Communities and Local Government, said "We are aware of a number of issues, including those concerning governance and propriety in the way the council has operated over recent years. These have led to the suspension of some senior officers and an ongoing police investigation. Officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government are in close contact with the council, and have been since these concerns first came to light.

"The department has discussed at length, with the council, the support it needs to move forward. The Local Government Association, funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government to carry out improvement work with local authorities, is providing professional advice and support. This includes experienced mentors for both councillors and officers, a dedicated resource to improve communications with residents and workshops with the cabinet and most senior officers to ensure that they are working effectively together to deliver some large and important programmes. I understand that the council has also brought in additional capacity, including external audit and legal expertise, to help manage some of the most pressing issues."

He continued "We will review the situation regularly, with the council and LGA, to review the support package and identify additional needs. We have spoken with the Local Government Association, who have offered the Leader and Chief Executive additional HR support.

"We will continue to take a keen interest in Cheshire East Council."

Cheshire East Council


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Monday 9th October 2017 at 11:23 am
Will the Government be looking at the Lyme Green (totally censored) report fiasco and the CoSocious fiasco?

What about the appointment of a fraudster as head of finance?

Should we ask them?
Barry Stafford
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 2:43 pm
Well ,if you can understand the Sir Humphrey twaddle from Govt.sounds like we will get your back and cover any sins Baz
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 3:52 pm
So, if you break the law, lie, cover up, obfuscate, deceive, commit fraud, ignore planning regulations, give mates a job etc.etc. just call the government in for a chat and a pointer in the right direction and everything will be alright.
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 7:54 pm
Interesting that there wasn't a comment by Rachel Bailey acknowledging that the Department for Communities and Local Government "will continue to take a keen interest in Cheshire East Council". What a damning indictment this is considering we have elected members with years of experience and we were told that we were paying for the best (at the time of the formation of CE) in the appointed officials.