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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tri Borough-An Accident Waiting To Happen

left: Merrick and Derek off on their 'Big Adventure'

The Dame had a fascinating lunch this weekend with two Conservative councillors from Hammersmith & Fulham. Without being snobbish The Dame has to say she found them rather coarse- though not quite as coarse, of course, as Cllr Moylan-but far from refined. What they told the Dame, after quite few bottles of rather cheap wine and  packets of pork scratchings, was disquieting.
Their Leader, Cllr 'Steve' Greenhalgh appeared to be the object of their total admiration and loyalty.  But what they are particularly proud of the effortless way he has got just what he wanted in the Tri Borough negotiations.  All his top staff have taken the top jobs and he has managed to negotiate a 3 month termination arrangement to fire Mr Myers, the joint Chief Executive should things not pan out.... from Steve's point of view.

From the K&C perspective we should be very worried. Our current Leader, Merrick Cockell, is years past his sell by date. He has no ongoing interest in how the new arrangements will work. Instead, to the satisfaction of street fighter, 'Steve' Greenhalgh, Cockell is proposing a boy to do a man's job. That boy is Rock Fielding Mellen, a callow, effete and inexperienced aristocratic youth.
Rock FM has a knack of getting up people's noses' with his snooty manner but he will be putty in the hands of that 'super operator' Steve Greenhalgh, the working class, no nonsense Yorkshireman who has been running rings around Cllr Cockell in the negotiations

The big event for Kensington and Chelsea in the next five years (the period when the new Leader of the Borough will be finding his or her feet) will be the little understood Tri-Borough organisation that is being constructed between K&C, Hammersmith and Westminster.

The idea of Tri Borough is to save £10 million of council tax for K&C by integrating the organisations of the three Boroughs with a combined turnover of £2 billion. Measured as a percentage of turnover, the projected saving is a joke. In terms of risk, the measurement is stratospheric.
The Dame has been poking around. Thanks to a Kensington tax payer, (with 20 years of Board level experience building joint ventures and integrating organisations), she has found out quite a lot of the dangerous detail.  This resident has written to his Ward councillors with a hard hitting analysis based upon the 12 rules of integration. He claims the Tri Borough experiment is doomed and will deliver “a greatly reduced level of service at greatly increased cost”

The Leader of K&C is in the “lame duck” phase of his tenure. He will be departing early in 2012 and is more concerned about his peerage than the future. By contrast, the Leaders of Westminster and Hammersmith are relatively new and are dealing for their futures.
Westminster is having second thoughts about the Tri Borough arrangements (the fanfare last year earned brownie points for Cllr Cockell in Central Office where he pursues a place in the House of Lords.)
Now Westminster is noticeably absent from the current integration plans and-thanks to several Councillors, the brakes have been rapidly applied.

So a clarion call  to residents and council tax payers, especially those of you with children at schools in the Borough or in need of Adult Social Care in the near future. Get up to speed with what is going on and if you are sufficiently worried, make life hell for your Ward councillors.

Any public company doing an integration exercise of this magnitude would have bought on board a top flight management consultant with expertise in mergers. Our Council is leaving it to Merrick Cockell, a man with a spectacularly unsuccessful business career and Derek Myers, a social worker turned Chief Executive. It is a combination which bodes badly for the future....


  1. Well where are the people who are supposed to represent us, the cowardsillers?? silently eating grass like sheep? Do they have any backbone or have they even questioned this? whilst they chip away at services that make this country great, the social care system to support the most vulnerable and the health service, all set up when this country was broke financially but was richer because of the ordinary man in the street. Watch the care services for the elderly and disabled disappear right under our noses,
    someone DO something, we never voted for an unholy trinity! Withdraw now!

  2. Couldn’t agree more 00:03

    Cockell is only interested in his peerage and has sold all RBKC people (that’s residents, Councillors and staff) up the swanny.

    Myers is in the pocket of H&F.

    Most of the carnage will happen bi-borough between RBKC and H&F (to the great advantage of the latter) and Westminster will hang back and, if it ever suits them to do so, will cherry-pick over the bones of what’s left of RBKC.

    RBKC officers (those still in jobs) know how badly services will be affected. All this for ‘savings’ that amount to barely a drop in the ocean.

    Action must be taken now to halt this farce of a process. The real power to exert pressure and influence rests in the hands of K&C residents.

  3. Maybe the councillors will wake up when they realise that Lordy pooty has sold them up the river, in the very same way as he has the residents....whilst he basks in the sun further down the river, they will have no jobs as Hammersmith will have taken them too! Wakey wakey! When can we leave this non agreed agreement? And why is the local paper oh so quiet!

  4. Another Person Who Knows26 October 2011 at 09:18

    Back bench councillors have been told that they are not allowed to "scrutinise" the concept of Tri-or bi-borough. This was a decision taken by the leadership after an official "consultation" with residents of all three boroughs. This worked out at "consultation" with about 200 people per borough, of whom some said that IF it would save a lot of money, it should be considered. All subsequent attempts by backbenchers to set up scrutiny groups to look at what is going on have been refused.

  5. Thank you very much 9.18, another demonstration of the wonderful democracy that is about to ruin our borough, but is it legal to do this. Another numbers game 200 out of how many people? Local people are not being informed properly about what is happening or the implications this will have on their lives, saving a few coppers on bin collections is one thing but dismantling the care of vulnerable people and the infrastructure that supports this and all that matters to ordinary residents is unacceptable. COME ON COUNCILLORS WAKE UP GET YOUR MOJO ON AND DO SOMETHING!

  6. Cllr Tim Coleridge attended a Bi Borough meeting with Hammersmith and received the shock of his life. In Hammersmith the councillors address the officers by their christian names

    Not what Tim is used to at all. He now has severe doubts about the Tri Borough idea

  7. This train set that is heading for a major train crash.

    Joint purchasing of goods and services by the three Boroughs eg out sourcing dustbin collections, is a great idea to obtain economies of scale.

    But combining critical services like Adult Social Care while keeping three different Leaders and three different Cabinets is a formula for disaster. If the novices Cockell and Myers had any experience of business they would understand this.

    The next Leader of K&C needs to prepare himself/herself for a distressing and taxing ten years of INCREASED costs and REDUCED service quality

    You have been warned

  8. The whole Tri Borough exercise is an ego trip by Cllr Cockell. The story got lots of press coverage and he was noticed in Conservative Central Office. Now he has moved to the LGA and hopes for his peerage.

    To hell with the residents of K&C - peerage fodder

  9. Person Familiar with The Situation26 October 2011 at 11:11

    The Leader of Westminster has a very jaudiced view of the Tri Borough. He is holding back.

    It is already the Bi Borough.

    Will the next Leader of K&C (elections coming soon) have the balls to rvert to Uni Borough?

  10. Concerned Resident26 October 2011 at 11:14

    Derek Myers, CEO of the merged Hammersmith and K&C organisations, wrote to K&C councillors on 3rd October assuring them that there is an "unwind option" for the Bi Borough.

    What game is he playing?

  11. When will the brain dead Conservative councillors of K&C wake up and see what a liability Cllr Cockell is as Leader of the Borough?

  12. If FLY ON THE WALL is correct about over familiarity by H&F officers with cllrs then they need reminding that when they address Sir Pooter they need to remember their p&q's. he will want none of them calling him Pooter

  13. 9.18 you are pathetic. Because I am sure that you are a Conservative councillor in K&C.

    Forget about scrutiny. All you have to do is kick the menace out. You have allowed him to stay in power for 14 years and it has frankly gone to his head. Long ago, he lost a grip on reality. It was around the time that he bought Cllr Ian Clement dinner at Keanes Restaurant in New York and presented the bill for $416 to London Councils. Which they (we council tax payers) paid for.

    After this, it was the gravy train and vanity projects for Cllr Cockell.

    All the way

    So get off your hobby horse of self pity and get out the knife, 9.18

  14. Retired Chief Executive and Kensington Resident26 October 2011 at 11:45

    The idea of using Management Consultants to advise on the Tri Borough idea is a sensible one. A professional approach. It would be interesting to hear from Cllr Cockell why he did not do this.

    It is instructive to remember that the Liquidators of Chelsea Care (now in recievership after costing K&C tax payers around £1 million)issued a devastating statement that the business plan "was doomed to failure from the outset".

    K&C Councillors in their wisdom decided not to do market research before setting up the company with tax payers money "in order to save money"

    The K&C Scrutiny Committee observed that the K&C Cabinet (Chaired by Cllr Cockell)approved a fantasy business plan for Chelsea Care with trading margins of 16%, when it was well known that the industry works with trading margins of 3%

    This is the quality of intellect and decision taking in K&C that is taking us into the Tri Borough

    The outlook is not good. In the business world, analysts would issue a "downgarde to sell" instruction

  15. Fantasy business plans are a feature of the current K&C administration.

    Cllr Cockell (himself a failed businessman) is an opera lover and has presided over tax payer subsidies by K&C to Holland Park Opera which have grown from £100k per year in 2002 to £1 million today.

    Even Pooter was troubled by this bottomless pit and decided to use £80K of K&C council tax to underwrite a production of Holland Park Opera at the Richmond Theatre. A "sure fire" business plan was presented to Cabinet that would result in profits of £20k and help to reduce the taxpayer subsidy. What a good idea.

    Unfortunately the production lost £17k. Not a very accurate business plan.

    Just wait for the Bi Borough business plan results....

  16. Was the Richmond Theatre business venture ever subjected to a post mortem or council scrutiny?

    Where does the information about the £17k loss come from? I have never heard about this.

    Sounds like more persecution of the Leader of K&C by an irresponsible resident.

  17. Up Yours said...

    Was the Richmond Theatre business venture ever subjected to a post mortem or council scrutiny?


    Where does the information about the £17k loss come from? I have never heard about this.

    Sounds like more persecution of the Leader of K&C by an irresponsible resident.


  18. The £17k loss was provided by the Finance Department in Hornton Street, 12.19.

    It was in response to a Freedom Of Information Request.

  19. Cllr Cockell brushed the £17K Richmond Theater loss under the carpet because he and Derek Myers were busy at the time defending the attack from residents on Cllr Cockell for entertaining a friend to dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York on a Saturday night. Cllr Cockell "forgot" the name of his guest but his other friend, Derek Myers, obligingly signed off the expense claim and K&C council tax payers paid up

  20. Phew. £80k investment in the Opera venture to produce a £17k loss.

    Tri Borough spending is £2 billion a year. What is the level of risk here????

    Has the Finance Department of K&C carried out a risk assessment? They used to pride themselves on this technique. Cllr Tom Fairhead, the late Cabinet Member for Finance, was always talking about his department's "risk assessments".

    Tom has now retired to his grace and favour mansion on the Downton Abbey estate and leads the life of a country gent. My spies tell me that he derives great kudos at local dinner tables when introduced as the ex Royal Borough K&C councillor

  21. 12.19 I fail to see how keeping poopter accountable is persecution, its what's supposed to happen when you are dealing with the public, voters, residents and public aka 'our' money. The problem is no one seems to act on his pathway of disastrous management in the same way as they would in the business world aka real world! So WHY are all of the sheep doing nothing, Is there not one of you who have the courage of your convictions or the honour to end this mess once and for all. It is unacceptable.

  22. This is what Sir Cockup said about TRI Borough Savings in a press release dated 21st October 2011.

    "The savings go right to the very top,..."

    I don't remember Cockup or Myers taking a drop in salary. What I am aware of is that those who must be obeyed in K&C have made the lives of their own employees intolerable while protecting their own gravy train.

  23. If you want to slow down or halt Bi or Tri Borough - I'd get your skates on. The new Adult Social Care Struucture has been announced internally and interviews are being held in November - starting next week. The unlucky 30-odd percent of staff to lose their jobs should get their redundancy notice dropping through the letter box in December - Happy Christmas ...!

  24. Its no good just looking on Cllr 15.35

    You and your mates need to stop it. Give Cllr Cockell an ultimatum. Shivering and bleating will get you and your residents nowhere

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