Wednesday 29 October 2014

Adonis' 'tri-borough' review delivers immediate savings for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and signposts the way forward

Back in 2010 three West London Conservative council leaders got together with the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, and declared that their proposal to share services between the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council could save the three local authorities up to £100million. 

Last May, the residents of H&F voted in a new Labour administration. Having stated in their manifesto that they were determined to get an objective view of the scheme which should be devoid of vested interests, H&F Labour invited an independent Critical Friends Board (CFB) to review the 'tri-borough' project and all its workings. That was led by Lord Andrew Adonis.

As well as Lord Adonis, the CFB included the eminant Professor Tony Travers and Deborah Lincoln who all freely gave their time. Their review is the only independent review of this scheme ever undertaken.

There's much of interest within its 75 pages for anyone wondering about the accountability and value of local services. Most notably, the scheme has delivered less than half of the £100million target originally claimed by Mr. Pickles. The projected £46.5million  now targetted to have been saved by the end of next year is only similar to what Hackney, Lambeth and Camden have each saved all by themselves without such a scheme.

You can read the executive summary of the CFB review here. The full report can be found here and the press release put out by the Critical Friends Board is here.

H&F's council leader, Stephen Cowan (Lab) has put out this statement. In it he says H&F's Labour administration has "acted immediately in implementing one of the major recommendations to appoint an exclusive chief executive for H&F. This brings about an immediate saving but also recognises the importance to each borough in having their own 'champion' directly accountable to elected representatives and therefore to borough residents." H&F News understands that Nigel Pallace has taken on the interim role of CEO as well as keeping his old job at H&F as their Executive Director of Transport and Technical Services.

In 2010 Cllr. Cowan voiced his concerns here. So expect a series of further announcements on how all the CFB's recommendations are taken forward as H&F's new leadership seeks to cut costs and improve the ways its services work for its residents.

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