Chief executive of troubled Liverpool City Council resigns with ‘huge challenges’ ahead for local authority

His steps down with the local authority currently being overseen by government commissioners.

<p>Tony Reeves was CEO for four years. Image: Liverpool City Council</p>

Tony Reeves was CEO for four years. Image: Liverpool City Council

The chief executive of Liverpool City Council has stepped down after four years in post.

In a statement, Tony Reeves, who has seen many changes and controversies at the council since taking on the role, expressed sadness about leaving and said that ‘huge challenges’ still remained.

He resigns with the local authority being overseen by government commissioners following a damning report into some of the council’s practices.

In early December 2020, former Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson was one of five men arrested as part of an investigation by police which included allegations of corruption at the council. All those arrested denied the allegations.

Tony Reeves

Government commissioners were installed at the council last year following results of the Best Value Inspection report, led by Max Caller, which found failures in the organisation.

The council praised Mr Reeves for responding positively to the Best Value Inspection and providing leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Reeves said he was "immensely proud" of his achievements as chief executive but some critics celebrated his departure from the local authority.

Councillor Sam Gorst tweeted: “The CEO down and only the Mayor to go. Bring on May 2023. Change is coming.”

Mr Reeves’ statement

“I’m sad to be leaving Liverpool City Council but I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me over the past four years, in what has been exceptional times for the council and the city.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to have been Chief Executive of an organisation that does so much tremendous work for such a fantastic city and its amazing people.

“I’m immensely proud of the progress that has been made in Liverpool since I arrived – from reorganising the council and setting out its improvement plan – to the city’s tackling of COVID-19, when we led the country in community testing and piloting events, to establishing the world’s first pandemic institute.

“Throughout this time Liverpool showed its true spirit of togetherness and its ability to innovate and overcome immense difficulties and the city is so much stronger for that experience.

“Huge challenges still remain, not least economically, but the foundations for growth are well placed from the Knowledge Quarter and our thriving life sciences sector, to our creative industries and booming TV and Film offer.

“The redevelopments at our two famous football clubs also present a unique opportunity for the north of the city, to create thriving new communities and I look forward to seeing them establish and flourish.

“The people of Liverpool deserve a council that delivers great services. That is a difficult and complex journey but it has begun and those with the honour of leading the next chapter have a great opportunity to make some long-lasting improvements, and I wish them all the success in the world.

“Yes, there will be setbacks, but I’m confident a solid platform is now in place to ensure the council can support the ambition for Liverpool to realise its full potential.”

Reaction to CEO’s departure

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, thanked Mr Reeves for ‘helping Liverpool City Council navigate some difficult waters’.

But some councillors from Liverpool Community Independents criticised Mr Reeves and highlighted errors at the council including a huge increase of millions to the city’s energy bill.

Councillor Sam Gorst tweeted: “The CEO down and only the Mayor to go. Bring on May 2023. Change is coming.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Richard Kemp told the BBC: "I am really saddened but not surprised at today’s announcement.

"Mr Reeves was caught between an incompetent and inexperienced set of politicians. His position became intolerable, and I understand that for the sake of his health and his family he has decided to move on."