New chief installed at 'dysfunctional' Doncaster council

A new chief executive and a team of commissioners are to be put in charge of Doncaster Council in a bid to turn around the failing authority, recently criticised over the deaths of seven children, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

There will also be a non-executive Intervention and Recovery Board to "support, challenge and monitor" progress and report back to Mr Pickles.



The move follows a damning inspection by the Audit Commission, which criticised the authority's social services over the deaths of the seven youngsters.



The council has also apologised for failures which allowed two brothers to torture two other boys in Edlington.



Rob Vincent, currently chief executive of Kirklees Council, will now take the helm at Doncaster.



Mr Pickles said: "After 15 years of failure, Doncaster people need to be properly served by their council.



"The dysfunctional politics, poor services and ineffective leadership, identified by the Audit Commission, all must be addressed.



"All parties have agreed that intervention is needed and the package of measures we're announcing today will ensure that Doncaster gets the proper leadership and expertise that is urgently required for turning this situation around.



"We are taking these actions to ensure that a well-run Doncaster Council starts to prioritise the local people it's accountable to by creating the better, more efficient local services they're entitled to."









The commissioners will have the power to appoint, discipline and dismiss officers and ensure that bipartisan advice is heeded.



One of Mr Vincent's first tasks will be to oversee the appointment of other key officers and help get "value for money" for the council's £450 million revenue budget.



The Department for Communities and Local Government said the council would be given time to discuss the proposals before a final statutory order was introduced.



Mr Vincent said: "I am looking forward to committing myself to helping Doncaster re-find its stride and make the progress that all who know the town are looking for.



"I know that it is a place with a great history, some current strengths, and good prospects.



"It has had many problems over a number of years, and there will be difficulties in finding a confident way forward.



"But it is clear that many individuals, officers and politicians remain highly committed and motivated to achieve the best for local people."









A statement from Doncaster Council said the authority would continue to put forward suggestions during the three-week consultation process.



Peter Davies, mayor of Doncaster, said in the statement: "We note the draft directions and welcome much of what they say.



"During the three-week consultation period, we will continue to make representations to the Government for the benefit of Doncaster."







Since the start of this year the council has had a number of chief executives.



Paul Hart, who worked for the council for a total of nearly seven years, resigned his chief executive position in January, just one week before the Edlington case sentencing.



In a statement released on January 15, the date his resignation came into effect, he said: "I have been part of Doncaster Council for six and a half years and have worked through some really tough times and have also been part of some great achievements and successes.



"I am stepping down for personal reasons. Doncaster has great potential and great people that I have been privileged to work with. I thank them for their continuing hard work and wish them all the best in the challenges that lay ahead."



A spokeswoman for the council said today that Mr Hart was not given a pay-off on his departure.



Tim Leader followed Mr Hart to the role, but only remained there for two months following a fall-out with the town's mayor.



Mr Davies openly questioned the validity of the appointment and urged Mr Leader to quit, which he eventually did in April.



Mr Vincent will now replace Jo Miller, who was drafted in from her role as deputy chief executive of the Local Government Association (LGA) after Mr Leader left.



Following the Audit Commission report in April, Ms Miller said her role was to try to better serve the residents of Doncaster.



"This report paints a very poor picture of Doncaster Council and it is clear that the council has not served its residents as well as it should have," Ms Miller said at the time.



"That is not to say that it is all bad, as there are many good things happening in Doncaster, but we must be committed to raising the standards of governance in Doncaster and improving the council for the good of the borough."



The Doncaster Council spokeswoman said Ms Miller was never intended to be permanent and it is thought she will not remain with the council once the consultation period is over and Mr Vincent steps in.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas