“WE’VE won the war, now we must win the peace.”

This was the view today of Wirral Council’s chief executive as he revealed the authority hopes to have turned a page on its recent chequered history.

After 20 months of upheaval, fundamental change and turmoil, it appears the town hall soon could be let off the leash of an overseeing outside “improvement board.”

The council had been lambasted for a series of scandals that rocked politicians and senior management, earning it an unwelcome reputation for incompetence and corporate failure.

The situation had become so acute that Wirral invited an outside board of local government experts to oversee and contribute to its plans for improvement.

This week the board produced a 63-page draft report detailing where Wirral went wrong and highlighting steps taken to put things right.

And it says sufficient progress has been made to indicate keeping Wirral in its spotlight is no longer the best way forward.

But before that change can happen, the public will be asked for their views on whether the return to autonomy is warranted.

A special meeting will be held in Wallasey Town Hall next Friday, November 15, when residents will be invited to air their views; the opinions of MPs, Government ministers and voluntary sector groups also will be canvassed.

Chief executive Graham Burgess said: “This report represents the watershed moment in Wirral’s transformation.

“Wirral Council is emerging from one of the most difficult periods in its history; a period in which we have critically evaluated everything we do, and invited others to do the same.

“Our past failures have made this work necessary. We have invited challenge, and made ourselves open to criticism.”

He continued: “Wirral, like all local authorities, is heading into uncharted territory in which the entire notion of local government is being discussed, evaluated and transformed.

"We are ready to make this progression.

“As an authority, we are learning to have confidence in our own work again. We are able to trust the work of our colleagues.

"I'm not saying we will never make mistakes again, but the difference now is we have far more robust and transparent systems for dealing with those mistakes.

“Not everyone, of course, will agree with the board’s findings, and that's why we are holding a public meeting to discuss their report next week.

“I feel we have won the war, now we must win the peace.”

Mr Burgess said the next step, which might take two or more years, is to move the council several stages forward from one of stability to an authority recognised as being "outstanding".

The board’s review lists five key problem areas the authority needed to address: leadership, governance, financial stability, safeguarding and corporate planning.

It begins by stating: “The problems in Wirral were significant,” but goes on to say major changes have been made.

It says there has been “a visible shift of Wirral Council to being one that is willing to acknowledge there will always be areas that can be improved, and being open to learning from others.”

If the panel, chaired by Joyce Redfearn, former chief executive of Wigan Council, finds its work is done and can safely withdraw, it will be the fastest turnaround in local government history of an authority placed under “special measures."

Detailed in the report are the Anna Klonowski investigation, the Hespe whistleblow, the four-week delay review, the BIG/ISIS inquiry, the "toxic debt" revelations and the Information Commission's monitoring of Freedom of Information requests.

Click on the highlighted words above to read Globe articles published at the time the incidents unfolded.