Has the Government established a secretive cabal to determine Liverpool’s future?

Liverpool urgently needs a long-term vision for the City at the heart of the City Region. But decisions about that future need to be made in the Town Hall by those elected to make them after full discussion with the people, organisation and businesses of the City.

This morning I have written to the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram asking for urgent clarification of the role, remit, membership and safeguards for the Liverpool Futures Group which has been established at the request of the Government.

The letter happened after a chance set of questions that I posed at the Mayoral and Performance Select Committee revealed that a meeting of this body, actually proposed as far back as August last year, had taken place on Monday.

Cllr Kemp says, “starting off with a private meeting is not the best way to establish a process which could have a widespread impact on our City. It is important that we do establish a compelling future vision for the city as the heart of the City Region. The Government has a role to play in this as has the Regional Mayor but any discussion about the future of a city must be led by the communities, businesses and organisations which are committed to it. The decisions as a result of those involvements need to be put through the City Council which is the only body elected to make such decisions.

I have a huge concern that as the City Council starts its much needed overhaul of the so-called City Plan it should do so transparently and with full involvement of all interested Parties. Having two bodies one transparent and one none-transparent can only lead to poor decision making and conflict between the democratic and nondemocratic routes.

That is why we need safeguards to check any possibility of creating a secretive and furtive decision-making process in the city. So, I have asked 10 questions about what happened, what will happen and what checks and balances have been out in place to ensure probity in the operation of this body.

In particular, the assumption must be that this body will conduct its business in public.”

As ever I am interested to know what you think about these issues so please do not hesitate to email me (richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk) or write to me (at 16, Dovedale Road, Liverpool L18 1DW)

My letter to Mayor Rotheram is attached in full.

Steve Rotheram,

LCR Mayor,

By e-mail

8th March 2023

Dear Steve,

Re:        Liverpool Futures Group

As you know I have been broadly supportive of the Government’s Direction that a Liverpool Future Strategy Group ever since it was announced last summer by the then Secretary of State, Greg Clark.

However, I was shocked last night to hear that a meeting of this Group had actually taken place earlier this week in secret. The last thing that Liverpool needs is another furtive, secretive cabal in place and making decisions about its future. That will simply replicate the way of working that seems to have existed under former Mayor Joe Anderson.

I also see a huge possibility of a confrontation between this body and a due process which correctly seeks to involve the people, communities and businesses of Liverpool in the preparation of a new City Plan to replace the current ineffective and much regretted City Plan produced at the height of the pandemic by yet another cabal, this time of Chief Executives.

I questioned the whole of this approach last night when we were discussing in the Mayoral and Performance Select Committee the success that the Council was beginning to have with the development of a Citizens Panel to review our work. I suggested that we needed to have a similar system of involvement by informed people looking at the future of the City that they are committed to. The approach from the Tory Government, with which you are apparently colluding, seems to be the very opposite of this tried and trusted approach.

So perhaps you could answer some questions about this as you seem to have taken responsibility for it:

  1. Who is on the Group?
  2. Are they getting paid?
  3. What safeguards have been put in place to ensure that none elected members or advisers to the Group cannot take financial gain from the knowledge of what is happening for their private sector clients.
  4. Who was present at the meeting including advisors and support staff from the Department of Levelling up (DOLUP)?
  5. What was on the agenda for the meeting?
  6. What decisions were made at the meeting?
  7. Have terms of reference been agreed with DOLUP about the remit of the Group?
  8. Apart from the attendance of the Mayor and Chief Executive of Liverpool Council, both of whom will be leaving us shortly, what steps are being taken to keep all councillors within Liverpool informed of the work of this Group?
  9. Who is paying for the working of this Group?
  10. Is it likely that proposed work will be financially supported by the Government as part of the failing so-called levelling up Tory strategy.

I return to my opening comments. We need to develop a long-term strategy for the Liverpool City Region and Liverpool City Council must be the very heart of this. However, this strategy will only work if it is a bottom up and inclusive strategy which the people, communities and businesses of Liverpool can buy into, support and jointly deliver.

Your Group, by meeting privately has got off to a very poor start.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats


About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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2 Responses to Has the Government established a secretive cabal to determine Liverpool’s future?

  1. Paul says:

    Richard ,the Government has given this City enough rope to hang itself
    No other core city has required such an in depth purging of its authority by Central Government in the history of the UK ,we were promised open transparency by Joanne Anderson that quickly got quashed BiCo was brushed under the carpet , only Three councillors were reprimanded over the car parking Scandal
    Einstein had a sign hanging on his wall at Princeton: ‘Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.’

    The belief that you can produce something worthwhile from nothing worth having is at the core of Liverpool’s demise Steve Rotherham is certainly not the Figure to Run Liverpool and Liverpool city Region a
    problem lies in the amateurish way that Cunard recruits ‘without any formal commercial training whatsoever. Compare this to the senior ranks of the French Civil Service, all of whom have to take rigorous exams .
    The commissioners have been troubled by the standards of core competencies such as report writing, forward planning for decision making and customer service.

    Capitalist venture is for capitalists, not for local authorities. They should not carry the risks associated with otherwise commercial developments. Local government’s prime responsibilities lie first and foremost with the provision of core services.
    That’s Labour for you

    Is it any wonder that there is a popular perception that the current city council is a hotbed of ineptitude and corruption, unable or unwilling to provide the services which are its core business?

  2. billnettb715dcc3fb says:

    Is this the succesor to the amazing strareguc futures panel ,? Rotherham et al
    . Either way Maybe they could start with investigating AHDC Anfield whom i wrote to their controller Gove on few occasions and with their wondrous Gov Commisioners spearheadng transparency accountability and champions of justice. Best Value for who??

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