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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Stop Press! Young Rock hold Delboy Myers to Account!!

left: Hard Rock holding 'Delboy' Myers to account
A sense of humour is not something Delboy Myers is noted for. However, as the Rotten Borough 'puppetmaster', he is 'sans pareil'(that means second to none, Palmer). In the  confidential email below our near £300k a year Town Clerk, shows off his obsequious side. (btw....why not do as Mr Pickles asks and give up 10% of your obscenely high salary to 'protect front line services-after all, we are all in it together.)
Now Myers  has been known to say, "I need the members"-another way of saying that one has to let councillors think they are vital to the democratic process: the reality is that Myers runs the show. So the Dame has to reproduce this embarrassing piece of unintelligible gobbledygook.
The idea of young Rock Fielding Mellen holding Delboy 'to account' is as wonderful as it is surreal. The idea of the effete Rock FM pushing Myers around is hilarious!
It gets worse when Delboy goes on to mention dear old Palmers' various 'passions' (thank you Dame, for not detailing them. Ed)
What Delboy has so creatively done is give our senior councillors an excellent, Fagin like impression, that he is just their 'ever so 'umble servant'. The truth is different: from Cockell downwards the councillors dance to Puppetmaster Myers tune......

From: "" <>
Sent: Monday, 3 October 2011, 10:33
Subject: Bi-borough and Tri-borough project - update on issues raised

Dear Councillors
Councillor Feilding-Mellen and I have hosted two sessions to discuss and deal with questions on the implementation of the Bi-borough and Tri-borough arrangements.
The first session was on 14 July and the second session was on 19 September and this note seeks to deal with issues which were raised at that session but seemed at the time to deserve rather more thought.
Inevitably our thinking continues to develop and I would be happy to deal with any issues that arise from this note, or matters where I am not being clear.
On your behalf, Councillor Feilding-Mellen continues to hold me to account for the implementation of the agreed plans, and he is also a member of the Leaders’ Board, which supervises the implementation across the three boroughs.
The issues raised and my thoughts by way of response are as follows:
1.    Could we see a staff organisation chart for the new arrangements?
A draft organisation chart was made available at the second workshop and I think it was also discussed at the Conservative Party awayday on 24 September.
The organisation chart continues to evolve as appointments are made and job titles and other nomenclature is settled.
The easiest way to give you access to the latest version is on line, and you can see the latest version through this link 
2.    What might we do about cross borough Scrutiny?
Discussions had moved on at an informal level.  It is clear that there is no great appetite measured across the three boroughs for a formal system of three borough Scrutiny, but there is more interest in a greater degree of informal contact, probably around particular issues.
The current settled position therefore is that no new Tri-borough Scrutiny apparatus is to be designed and that generally Scrutiny Councillors seem happy with the interpretation that it is their job to ensure that however services are organised (whether single borough, Bi-borough or Tri-borough) it is their job to ensure that local residents get the services that they are entitled to, given the budget decisions the Council has made.
There are practical points however, in that with a smaller senior staff cadre, it won’t always be possible for Tri-borough or even Bi-borough chief officers to be reporting to single borough Scrutiny Committees, potentially on the same night, or on the same issues, but the undertaking is that these multi-borough services will make sure they are in a position to send senior staff where they are needed.
I hope it is understood that we are currently in transition from single-borough arrangements to multi-borough arrangements and on the whole these do not become ‘live’ until April 2012.
For the rest of this municipal year then, Scrutiny arrangements will continue to scrutinise single-borough services on a single-borough basis.
3.    What does hosting mean?
Hosting is the term that we have used to explain how a single authority will become the employer of the management team of a multi-borough service.  Currently the arrangements are for senior Library staff to be hosted by Westminster; senior Children’s staff to be hosted by Kensington and Chelsea and senior Adult Social Care staff to be hosted by Hammersmith and Fulham.
A nuance in this is that hosting will obviously cover pay and conditions and hold employment contracts and therefore exercise discipline over these staff.  It also means that staff will be hosted on that Council’s IT systems so Members and the public will eventually get used to the fact that notwithstanding they are emailing about a Kensington and Chelsea issue, they may be emailing (for Adult Social Care for example) an officer with a Hammersmith and Fulham email address.
I understand that psychologically this will feel odd, but I am afraid it is a necessary compromise, given the fact that the security procedures across the three Councils server systems prevent automatic forwarding of emails between these systems.
Other technical solutions may become available to us through time.
4.    Safeguards for joint contracts
The point made was that we need to ensure that single-borough interests are not subsumed inappropriately in a rush for asserted benefits through multi-borough purchasing.  This is a point well made, but it is difficult to give more than reassurance that we are alive to this issue at the present time.
5.    Will performance and benchmarking be recorded before Tri-borough so that we can see how it compares before and after?
We are relatively rich in comparable information between the three boroughs at present and clearly the intention is that service standards should not fall as a result of this new way of working.  Some service standards may be re-set, if we decide that we no longer wish to spend the amount of money it takes to maintain certain standards, but that is a matter related to our budget requirements and not our organisational requirements.
This puts us in a good position to compare ‘before and after’.  Clearly many of the looked for benefits from new ways of working come from the ability to save money, either directly through less managers, or indirectly through different ways of working and we expect to have robust systems in place for tracking these savings.
6.    Are these changes reversible?
I gave an assurance at both meetings that these changes are reversible. 
Clearly there are consequences in pulling out of these joint arrangements, but that only means that any such decision could not be taken casually.  First draft legal agreements are now being drawn up between the three Councils and these will be supervised by the Leaders’ Board over the next few months with an intention that they be finalised by March 2012.  The ‘notice period’ for withdrawal from the Bi/Tri-borough arrangements is to be 12 months, unless Councils other than the withdrawing Council agree to a shorter period.
Other clauses in the contracts will provide for any circumstances where an individual borough asserts that it has lost confidence in a senior Tri-borough (or Bi-borough) postholder.
7.    Will we continue to monitor customer satisfaction?
There are various measures in place to measure the satisfaction of our residents with our services.  These are inevitably quite high level, but there is no intention to change any of our current arrangements.  I think however, that we will pick up resident dissatisfaction through an increase in complaints, as well as seeing dips in proportions of people in quite large samples, describing themselves as less satisfied.
8.    Will this lead to better procurement?
Councillor Palmer is passionate about the need for better procurement and this is an aspiration we all share.  We should be able to leverage a benefit from comparing and contrasting what three boroughs do already and also bring together the expertise in each of the individual Councils.  It’s an area where scrutiny committees will be able to continue to keep council officers on their toes.
9.    Do we need to revise the officer/Member code?
This question dealt with the convention, certainly within Kensington and Chelsea, that Councillors only deal with chief officers.  This convention has been eased somewhat in recent years and currently Members have contact with a variety of senior staff from Head of Service upwards.
It would be best to consolidate this current practice, as suitable for the new arrangements. 
It is self evident that chief officers, serving three boroughs could not personally deal with communications from over 150 Councillors, although I know that they would wish to be informed about any serious issues of complaint or concern.
We will be publishing clear guidelines so that Councillors know who to contact about what issues, as we switch into the Bi-borough and Tri-borough arrangements with effect from January 2012 (for Environmental Services) and April 2012 (for Adult Social Care, Children and Library services).
Our convention in RBKC is that Councillors only call officers by their surnames.  No change to this convention has been proposed.
I trust you receive this in the spirit that it was written.  There is a lot about these new arrangements which we will need to refine with the benefit of experience.
You will know that once successfully delivered, the changes will save Kensington and Chelsea taxpayers in excess of £10m, which can either be used to hold down Council Tax or maintain vital front line services.

Derek Myers
Town Clerk and Chief Executive
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
020 7361 2299


  1. Retired Chief Executive5 October 2011 at 11:33

    Having managed a number of these re organisations in the private sector, let me warn you all that the concept of one Borough "hosting" services for all three (eg children and welfare, services for the old) means that the quality of service is going to nosedive.

    Of course the dabblers will need to reinvent the wheel and find this out for themselves. At the expense of hard pressed tax payers, as usual.

    But I note Myer's statement that there is the provision to "unwind" with 12 months notice. As a good bureaucrat he knows all about preserving his job security and continuity

  2. Myers must have had a right old chuckle as he wrote this palpable nonsense. No wonder he protects Cockell. Cockell has not a clue to understanding how to run a 1 man band imex biz in a basement office

  3. The tone of the missive is fawning - with genuflections to pretty boy Fielding-Mellen (member of the Leader's Management Board!) and the brain dead Palmer with his passion for purchasing.

    We have seen it all before. Endless rounds of musical chairs. But it is time to stop all this nonsense.

    Create a command structure (Leadership) to show some quick wins that will endure eg ditch Holland Park Opera subsidies (£10 million in the next 5 years?), Reduce profligate salaries and allowances in K&C to national benchmark levels (£20 million in the next 5 years?), abandon the role of Deputy Mayor and get rid of one of the two Mayor's cars (£2 million in 5 years?), sell off inappropriate assets from the assets register (£1 billion?)

    Now this would be something to write home about.....

  4. Inappropriate assets? What assets?

  5. I find it appalling that a cllr can leak this bilge. Does he not know that it makes the Town Clerk look =like an oily toerag? Bloody hilarious though. Can we have a few more leaks please?

  6. Hornton Street is the biggest landowner in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea according to the assets register. Masses of car parks (rented out) commercial premises and baubles (Bentley and Jaguar).And vast tracts of land.

    All of this stuff just sitting there.

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