Plus: Yet another probe into Birmingham City Council
Good morning readers — welcome to Tuesday’s Dispatch.
Today’s Brum in Brief leads on the news that yet another critical report of Birmingham City Council has been released, this time by an organisation which independently scrutinised governance. You can click the link to read it below.
In more pleasant news, there are a couple of Christmassy recommendations for things to do tonight. We have now definitely entered that gloriously blurry time of year when work competes with socialising, present buying, and tree decorating, ready that will leave us happily knackered and skint by the time it comes to pulling crackers.
Before the news roundup, a quick note on growth: we now have 4,687 subscribers. That’s a fantastic 231 more than at the last count. And pledges to pay for our journalism have boomed to 93. A million thank yous to everyone who wants to push for better local journalism. If you want to pledge too, please log in and hit the green button below.
Brum in Brief
🚨A new report following a probe of Birmingham City Council has been released. The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny has determined the council faces key issues concerning: how decisions are made; how members and officers work together; and how information and insight are used to support decision-making. The report reads:
“It is at its core a problem of culture and behaviours — a failure of individual and collective accountability and responsibility.”
Government commissioners who are currently running BCC have released a statement to say that its findings, and those of separate scrutiny by auditors, “need to be taken into a comprehensive action plan which deals with the council, its constitution, and the way in which both members and officers work within it”.
Birmingham Lib Dem leader, Councillor Roger Harmer, said:
“This report is further evidence of the calamitous mess that Birmingham Labour have overseen, for years, at this council. I despair of the damage that they have done here, and residents are utterly sick of hearing about it.”
Birmingham Tory leader, Councillor Robert Alden, said:
“There are no surprises here, all the issues raised are things we have been warning about for years, and were highlighted by Lord Kerslake in 2014 as well as by numerous external reviews since.”
☁️An amateur photographer has captured “a rare weather phenomenon” in the Malvern Hills, the BBC reports. Cloud inversions occur when temperatures nearer the ground are lower than those up in the air — normally it is the opposite. "While it may have been grey and foggy in Worcester, there was this great spectacle just a few miles down the road," said Nick Sturdy, a resident of the city, who took the pictures.
👮West Midlands Police has launched Operation Bluespruce to target high-risk domestic violence suspects. They will release images of suspects across their social media channels in the run-up to Christmas.
🎄Waterstones Birmingham is hosting a Christmas Customer Evening tonight packed full of authors, mince pies, and mulled wine. Midlands noir writer Natalie Marlow and historian Carl Chinn who spoke to The Dispatch for this piece will be there. 5-8pm.
🎭Peter Pan the Musical opens at the Old Rep tonight. Their website reads: “This swashbuckling production promises to be packed with captivating costumes, spectacular songs, creative choreography, and fantastic flying sequence.” Tickets from £16.75.