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Triborough support shows small decline

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The proportion of residents who support the ‘Triborough’ shared services plan in west London has fallen in the past year in two of the three areas concerned.

Hammersmith & Fulham LBC, Kensington & Chelsea RBC and Westminster City Council have signed agreements to combine their adult care, children’s services and libraries departments in a move they expect will save £40m a year by 2015-16.

They may combine other services, but will remain separate political entities.

A poll of 1,500 residents conducted by RSM earlier this year showed that overall backing for the plan remained high, with 73% saying they supported sharing some services.

But that was a fall from 77% when the same question was asked a year earlier, mainly as a result of a sharp fall in support in Kensington & Chelsea, from 80% to 67%.

There was also a small fall in Westminster, from 77% to 75%, while in Hammersmith & Fulham support rose by a percentage point to 75%.

Awareness of the Triborough proposals across the three authorities fell from 43% of respondents to 39% despite its formation now being imminent. And only 8% felt they knew a great deal or ‘fair amount’ about what was planned.

Hammersmith & Fulham leader Stephen Greenhalgh (Con) said: “The Triborough vision is to combine management roles and cut overheads so that front-line services are protected as much as possible.

“Our management wage bill has been reduced dramatically and many services have improved which is reflected in these positive residents’ survey results.”

The three councils continue to score highly in reputational terms. However, the survey also highlighted that Westminster had suffered a reputational blow as a result of controversial plans to introduce evening and weekend parking charges. Perceptions of how the council is reported in the media are now “much more in line with the London wide and national average,” the survey found.

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