The Government had put four of its Commissioners into the council to oversee council functions, including grant making and procurement, following the findings of a report carried out by PWC.
A High Court decision in December 2014 led to the removal of the previous mayor, Luther Rahman. New elections were held in 2015 and John Biggs was elected as the Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Since then, Mayor Biggs has overseen significant improvements to the council including new transparent policies and practices for procurement, awarding grants, whistleblowing and the running of elections.
The council has also brought in a Clear Up Team to investigate unconsidered historical allegations of improper council decision-making.
Today, in recognition of that work, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has agreed:
- to fully return the awarding of contracts and procurement processes to direct local council control
- to return the vast majority of grant awarding powers back to the council, with some continuing Commissioner oversight
- to reduce the number of government appointed Commissioners from four to three.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
“This is a real vote of confidence in the progress we have made turning the council around and putting right the mess left by the previous Mayor.
“Not only has Government returned a significant number of powers to the Council, they have also reduced the number of Commissioners ahead of schedule. Grant making was one of the most contentious areas under the previous Mayor, it’s a real achievement to now have grants back under local control.
“Of course there is more work to be done and I want to see full control returned to the council as soon as possible but today’s announcement shows we are on the right track and making a real difference for the people of Tower Hamlets.”