Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 14:23 UK

Government to intervene in troubled Doncaster Council

Court drawing of Edlington attackers

The government will intervene in a failing council after a report found it was not capable of making improvements.

The Audit Commission report was carried out after a series of crises at Doncaster Council, including a brutal attack on two young boys in Edlington.

Its social services department had already been criticised following the deaths of seven children.

Communities Secretary John Denham said he would use his statutory powers to intervene.

The report said the council was failing because it was not properly run.

The council will not improve without significant and sustained support from external bodies
Audit Commission report

The report said: "Doncaster Metropolitan Borough is failing."

It added: "Those leading the council - the mayor and cabinet, some councillors and some officers - do not collectively have the capacity or capability to make the necessary improvements in governance.

"The council will not improve without significant and sustained support from external bodies."

The report found the people of Doncaster were "not well-served" by the council because "the desire to pursue long-standing political antagonisms is being given priority over much-needed improvements to services for the public".

'Absolutely unacceptable'

Speaking after the publication of the report, Mr Denham said: "From the outset, I have made it clear that I would take whatever action was necessary to look after the best interests of local people.

"I can make it clear today that I will use my statutory powers to intervene.

"The Audit Commission's report on Doncaster Council shows the severity of the problems in the local authority across the board and concludes that the local authority is failing the people of Doncaster, not just on one service or issue but the very way it operates. This is absolutely unacceptable."

Mr Denham said he was now considering what form the intervention in the authority should take and said meetings would be held this week to discuss the future of the council.

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies said the report "speaks for itself".

He said: "Many of the problems at the council were embedded before I arrived and I see this as time to draw a line in the sand and move forward for the good of the council and the people we serve and I am confident we can do this."

Jo Miller, the council's acting chief executive, said: "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."



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SEE ALSO
Doncaster Council chief walks out
01 Apr 10 |  South Yorkshire
Ex-mayor offers advice for Davies
23 Feb 10 |  South Yorkshire
Children 'still at risk' of harm
07 Feb 10 |  South Yorkshire
Head of troubled council remains
04 Feb 10 |  South Yorkshire
Council apology to tortured boys
22 Jan 10 |  South Yorkshire
Childcare team 'seriously weak'
12 Mar 09 |  South Yorkshire

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