THE government commissioners appointed to tackle failures at Sandwell Council cost nearly £375,000 in the first year of intervention. 

The figures, which only cover the first year of intervention at Sandwell Council up to March 2023, show the two government-appointed commissioners cost £374,116 in fees and expenses for the first 12 months.

Kim Bromley-Derry, who had been serving as interim chief executive at Sandwell Council since August 2021, was appointed lead commissioner with Jim Taylor serving as assistant commissioner. 

The pair were paid £346,550 in fees in the 12 months with an expenses bill totalling more than £27,500.

Between March 2022 and March 2023, Mr Bromley-Derry was paid £211,800 in fees and £22,417 in expenses – which included nearly £15,000 on hotels and just under £7,400 on petrol.

A monthly fee of £20,400 was paid in July and August 2022 and £22,800 was paid to Mr Bromley-Derry in January 2023 followed by £11,400 payments in February and March.

The average yearly salary in Sandwell is £30,280, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics for 2023.

Assistant commissioner Jim Taylor received £134,750 in fees with his expenses bill totalling just over £5,000 including £2,235 on hotels, £1,800 on train tickets, nearly £600 on petrol and £288 on parking.

Financial figures from March 2023 to the present have yet to be published but the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has asked when they will be made available. 

Last month, it was announced that Mr Bromley-Derry would be leading an investigation into Tower Hamlets Council in London over concerns about the leadership of independent mayor Lutfur Rahman.

The two-year government intervention at Sandwell Council, which was enforced due to serious concerns over the authority’s leadership and governance, will come to an end this month.

In a report published on March 7, Mr Bromley-Derry and Mr Taylor said the council was now capable of ‘going it alone’ without the government-enforced help and Sandwell Council was a “far cry” from the authority of two years ago.

“The staff, the elected members, and most importantly, the residents, have all noted the changes,” the fourth and final commissioners’ report said. 

“The improvement work which was once seen as a standalone priority has now been interwoven with the ‘business as usual’ strategic planning of the council.”