Following the damning Max Caller report into Liverpool City Council, leaders representing more than 2,000 businesses say the authority must work with the private sector for the good of the city. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool business leaders have come together to call for a ‘Team Liverpool’ approach between the public and private sectors following the damning report into Liverpool City Council.
Max Caller’s report, published last week, exposed a “dysfunctional culture” within the council and a “fundamental failure’ of audit and governance”. Local government minister Robert Jenrick has sent in commissioners to run the highways, regeneration and property management functions of the authority.
Although the report focused on a lack of oversight in the awarding of contracts to private providers, the leaders of Liverpool’s Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool BID Company, Professional Liverpool, Downtown in Business and Liverpool@MIPIM said partnerships between the public and private sectors were a force for good.
Between them, the organisations represent more the 2,000 businesses in the city, and they backed Mr Jenrick’s decision to send in commissioners, describing the move as “proportionate”.
In an open letter they say they are “deeply concerned” about the findings of Max Caller’s report, but added: “We are confident that under the leadership of the current chief executive of the council, Tony Reeves, the required corrective actions will be successfully delivered.”
In an interview with LBN published earlier this week, Professional Liverpool chief executive Andrew Ruffler, said he was confident the decisive action being taken to address the findings offered confidence to potential investors in the city.
In the letter, the group says the city’s challenges are “plentiful” but added “so are its opportunities”. They wrote: “We believe that Liverpool retains its attractiveness as a place of business and one with immense growth potential in the years ahead.
“Catalysing the future potential of Liverpool will require yet further collaboration between businesses and local government and we have absolute confidence that it will be businesses at the forefront of growth and leading this relationship. The creation of Paddington Village at Knowledge Quarter is an exemplar of good investment.
“Building upon our existing talent and expertise in health and life sciences, aligned to a rich cultural heritage, Liverpool has created a place of agglomerated assets and infrastructure to provide our city with a globally outstanding proposition that will stimulate jobs, attract investment and create a purposeful contribution to our city’s outcomes.
“Beyond the Knowledge Quarter, the approval of Everton FC’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock further exemplifies how the city’s private and public sector can stimulate economic growth and have a huge impact by collectively identifying and supporting the key initiatives and innovations.”
The letter also offered other examples of successful projects in the city, including Sciontec in the Knowledge Quarter, the investment by Queensberry at Metquarter and the £1bn spent by Grosvenor to create Liverpool ONE, the biggest private sector investment in the history of Liverpool.
It added: “Our message to Liverpool-based businesses who are already here and those looking at Liverpool from afar is that the future of our city is exciting, world leading, ground-breaking and presents a strong opportunity for growth and investment.
“An ambitious economic recovery plan will be achieved by the contribution of our business community in the city, for whom our organisations collectively exist.
“Liverpool’s city plan will drive aspirations for economic growth, job creation, educational improvement and socio-economic development. Innovative, responsible and aspirational businesses will drive our future growth and should be inspired that our city’s areas of weakness are being addressed and will become genuine strengths.
“Liverpool is open for business and it is primed for recovery and growth. Let us all play our part.”