Friday 19 July 2024
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Nottingham

Nottingham City Council renames its improvement plan because it abbreviates as R.I.P

Nottingham City Council has decided to change the name of a plan to improve the way it operates because its abbreviation reads R.I.P.

The Labour-run authority, which is nearly in £1bn of debt, is being monitored by the Government after getting into serious financial difficulty.

As part of its efforts to recover, the council created a Recovery and Improvement Plan – which it first completed in November 2020 and approved in January 2021.

The plan details how the council intends to create a culture change, manage the companies it owns, and control its spending.

The updated plan will be delivered at Full Council on Monday, January 10, but will now be called The Together for Nottingham Plan.

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Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of Nottingham City Council, was asked at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 5, why the name of the plan had changed.

He said it had a “rather unfortunate” abbreviation.

A councillor responded with “RIP”.  The abbreviation also stands for ‘Rest in Peace’.

The authority was recently handed an extremely rare Section 114 notice for ‘unlawfully’ transferring more than £15m of ringfenced money from its Housing Revenue Account to its General Fund for all council services.

It is also facing huge financial challenges caused in part by the collapse of Robin Hood Energy in 2020.

The council set up the company to compete with ‘the big six’ energy providers including British Gas.

It was later described as ‘institutional blindness’ in an auditor’s report and will cost local taxpayers an anticipated £38m.

The Government-appointed Improvement and Assurance Board was set up in the aftermath of the company’s collapse.

Headed by Sir Tony Redmond, it must report back to government quarterly on how the authority is doing in terms of achieving financial resilience.

The council must achieve around £38m savings over the next four years and prove where these savings will fall by March this year.

If the council fails to do so, then Government commissioners could be called in to run the Labour-run authority in the future.

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