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Trio tasked with shaping Liverpool’s long-term future meet for the first time

A new panel tasked with directing Liverpool’s long-term future outside of government intervention measures met for the first time in the city today.

The Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel, chaired by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, has been established to help guide Liverpool City Council on its strategic path beyond the current commissioner intervention period.

Mayor Rotheram is joined on the panel by two major local government figures, Sir Howard Bernstein, who was chief executive of Manchester City Council from 1999 to 2017, and Baroness Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council from 2015 to 2021.

They will work closely with Liverpool City Council and its Cabinet, members and wider partners, as well as with the commissioners, to support the council to make the right decisions and build long-term resilience.

Mayor Steve Rotheram said:

“The Caller Report was a watershed moment for Liverpool. Everyone recognised that there was an enormous amount of work to do to chart the city’s path back to stability and prosperity – and that’s why I agreed to establish the Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel.

“We want to put the council in a position that allows the commissioners to leave as soon as possible. This is not about quick fixes but mapping out the strategic vision of the city for decades to come.

“We’ve pulled together a team that boasts decades of hands-on experience at the helm of local government organisations and I would like to thank Sir Howard and Baroness Judith for stepping up to help us look at things afresh. We aren’t taking control of the council or the running of its day-to-day activities, but we will be working with the commissioners and the council itself to develop a long-term plan for success.

“I truly believe that with the right direction and strong leadership, some of Liverpool’s best days still lie ahead. I’m looking forward to working with our panel to map out a path to help build a better, stronger future for our entire city region – and the 1.6m people who call it home – where no one is left behind.”

The panel’s first meeting included a presentation on underlying data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:

“Liverpool has had huge successes in recent years with significant regeneration and thriving cultural and creative sectors. We now need to build a solid economic strategy for the future, building on the major development opportunities that we have, and creating businesses that deliver quality jobs and social value for our city. The Council looks forward to working with the Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel to develop a long-term plan to improve life for our residents.”

The panel was originally launched by former Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Greg Clarke in August 2022, however, subsequent ministerial turnover in the department meant the panel chose to postpone its first meeting until it had received terms of reference.

The next steps for the panel will include a deep dive to engage with local stakeholders to better understand the problems facing the city and the challenges it will need to overcome.