‘This could be the end for City of York Council’ – Warning that report could be the ‘final straw’ for the authority
The “humiliating” report into the council’s handling of the payout to the former chief executive could lead to Government dismantling City of York Council, councillors warned.
The Secretary of State is currently considering two proposals for local government reorganisation.
One would see York council remain as it is, this is the option favoured by the local authority. The other would see it merged with Scarborough, Selby and Ryedale councils.
Cllr Jonny Crawshaw said at a meeting that the independent public interest report “has handed all the ammunition that anybody who wants to dissolve us needs. It’s all there laid out in that report”.
Independent Cllr Mark Warters said the report has led to “huge reputational damage for the council during a time of local government reorganisation that may well be the final straw for York as a standalone local authority”.
Public interest reports are only published when auditors find significant issues that need to be brought to the attention of the public and the council.
Only five have been issued to upper tier councils in the UK since 2016 – and two of those have been issued to York.
Independent Cllr Dave Taylor said: “It’s humiliating for the council to come together to discuss another public interest report.”
Government confirmed it is “closely monitoring” the council after the publication of the public interest report, with a spokesperson saying last month: “We are monitoring the situation at York City Council closely.
“Councils have a duty to manage taxpayers’ money responsibly and should be held to account where they are found to have failed to do so.”