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Camden and Islington ditch joint chiefs

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A “major personality clash” between chief executive and leader caused a ground-breaking sharing arrangement to fail, it has been claimed.

Islington and Camden LBC announced yesterday that they were abandoning plans to share a chief executive and senior management team because the cost of redundancies meant savings would take too long to be realised.

However, an Islington source said there had been “a major clash of personalities between the key partners, namely [leader] Catherine West (Lab) in Islington and [chief executive] Moira Gibb in Camden”.

Rather than the proposal failing because of cost, “it all got down to personalities”, the source claimed.

If the pioneering plans had gone ahead, the pair would have been the first non-district councils to have a shared chief executive, but now councillors have decided that they will focus instead on sharing services.

In a joint statement, a spokesman said the merger of management structures would have involved additional costs in years one and two, with savings not realised until years three and four, “at a time when both local authorities are being asked to make substantial cuts”.

He declined to comment on claims that the decision was due to a clash of personalities.

The two councils are to continue looking at which services can be shared and announcements as to which will be pursued will be made early next year.

A spokesman for Camden said the council still intended to reduce senior management costs by 20% over the next three years.

Islington opposition leader Terry Stacy (Lib Dem) said the partnership working “has been totally mishandled” and said there had been issues between unidentified individuals.

“The costs are a bit of an excuse,” he said. “There were always going to be redundancy costs and so I still think it is down to personalities.”

Cllr Stacy added: “Labour promised us masses of savings through the shared senior management team and chief executive. Where are those savings going to come from now?”

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