Croydon ‘continues to improve and the pace of improvement has moved up a gear’ – that was the conclusion of the council’s independent improvement panel in their latest report to government.
Published this week, the report from Tony McArdle, Chair of Croydon’s improvement and assurance panel (IAP), sets out the positive change since the financial collapse of 2020.
Despite the significant challenges facing Croydon, Mr McArdle finds the council is making strong progress in several areas. These include financial management, governance, and improving council homes – while managing rising costs and demand for services like caring for vulnerable children and adults.
The panel’s report highlights Executive Mayor of Croydon Jason Perry’s commitment to fixing the finances, and that he ‘has demonstrated resolution in taking difficult decisions in order to bring this about’. It also notes that strong appointments to the council’s senior leadership team are making a positive difference to the organisation’s culture.
Mr McArdle says that the council is at a ‘critical point’ but he believes that the council ‘has the capacity and capability’ to deliver the Exit Strategy – the panel’s plan to leave Croydon in 2025 or sooner, confident that it is on a pathway of continuous improvement.
In his response, the Minister for Local Government, Simon Hoare MP, welcomed the panel’s findings and the accelerated pace of change at Croydon.
He noted the ‘strengthened governance arrangements, improved capacity and capability and a commitment to implement transformation and culture change across the organisation.’
“This is an encouraging report from our improvement and assurance panel, and we welcome the Minister’s response. I am pleased that both have noted Croydon’s sustained progress in tackling our challenges, making our services more efficient, and the increased pace of change at our council. I also welcome the panel’s confidence in Croydon’s ability to deliver the Exit Strategy ahead of July 2025. While we have made strong progress, there is much more to be done and we look forward to continuing to work with them.
“As both the panel and the Minister note, Croydon’s challenges remain significant. The council is burdened with £1.6bn debt due to a legacy of serious, past mismanagement. Even with our progress, it is clear that Croydon needs a new solution from government if we are to become sustainable. We will be continuing our conversations with government in relation to a package of support that will enable us to keep moving forward, and deliver value for money for residents now and in the future.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon