Plans to merge services between three west London boroughs will see the number of chief executives reduced from three to two, it emerged this week.
Derek Myers, chief executive of Kensington & Chelsea RBC, will see his role expanded to take over the running of neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham LBC, once current chief executive Geoff Alltimes retires in October.
Alongside, the “long-term interim arrangement” to share chiefs between two boroughs – expected to save £200k over the next three years – the so-called ‘tri-borough’ proposals will see individuals running both children’s and adult’s social care services for all three boroughs as well as shared HR and IT services.
Borough leaders believe the plans will save £35m a year and see management costs cut in half.
The boroughs have also signed a ‘sovereignty guarantee’, ensuring each of the three councils retains their own councillors and decision-making processes. Services such as housing management, licensing and planning will not be combined.
Services under consideration for future integration include customer services, waste management, street cleansing, contingency planning, CCTV, environmental health and parks management.
Mr Myers said his appointment was just part of a much-wider piece of “intensive work to look at how collaboration might reduce costs and help protect vital front-line services”.
“These proposals are certainly not the easy path but the three chief executives think they represent an honest attempt to spread available and affordable managerial resources a bit more thinly to reduce costs and protect the bits that the public value most,” he said. “For my part, I relish the thought of being part of the success of two councils.“
The proposals will now be discussed at the three councils’ respective cabinets over the next twelve days, starting with Hammersmith & Fulham’s on 16 Feb, where the joint-appointment will be discussed.
Stephen Greenhalgh (Con), Hammersmith & Fulham’s leader, said: “We are not creating one ‘super council’, we are creating three slimmer councils with combined resources and expertise.”
“Our residents should not notice the difference except in areas such as adult social care where there will be a marked improvement because we are able to fully integrate health and social care.”