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Tuesday, 22 April 2014


In connection with this story the Dame has been sent a copy of a letter from Cllr Blakeman to colleagues.
Amongst the forceful points she makes about the way Crystals Coaches have been jumps out...
If one was suspicious one might feel that palms have been greased.....
What the hell is going on?

12. Why did Tri-borough not provide the EU waiver that would have enabled the previous contractor to bid for the contract?


Despite reassurances from councillors, staff in RBKC borough have been made redundant in the wake of the new council transport contract.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have merged their passenger transport services for disabled children and elderly residents in to a Triborough initiative.

As a consequence, family-owned company, Crystals Coaches Ltd, closed its doors on Friday (11th April) after they were excluded from the new contract.

Despite 21 years working only for RBKC, delivering Special Education Needs Children to schools across London, the small company, employing 100 staff, was not allowed to tender for the new multi-million pound contract. Says Managing Director, Chris Springham, "We are devastated. We made a decision years ago to only work with RBKC, to make it personal and family-orientated, to cater for the very specific needs of the vulnerable children in our care and to ensure an excellent working relationship with parents. We have no other commercial interests. We've now paid the price! Without working for a further two London boroughs, we were not allowed to re-tender". 

The closure sees the redundancies of 14 Crystals staff, many long-serving, including the entire management, all residents of RBKC. Other staff have been able to transfer to the new operators under the TUPE laws but at the time of going to press, many of the staff largely remain in limbo, unsure of their position when schools go back next week.

The new contract sees HATS/Olympic South Ltd from Wimbledon take over the majority of Crystals work, along with Star Bus from Barnet and Radio Taxis from North London.



  1. Labour raised this whole fiasco at scrutiny in March and afterwards with scrutiny chairman Cllr David Lindsay and Andrew Christie, the Tri-Borough head honcho. Crystal Coaches could have been permitted to tender but were deliberately excluded by Tri-borough. Christie promised a public statement after the matter was discussed at scrutiny on 19 March but despite prompts from Labour, this has still not appeared, over a month later. Unanswered questions about the financial viability of the winner of the tender were also raised in Private Eye but comforting noises were made at scrutiny. This is another example of the failure of Cllr. E. Campbell to maintain proper oversight of her department. She is a very unworthy successor to the late Lady Ritchie.

    1. The gory details of HATS less than crystal clear company accounts have featured in the Rotten Boroughs section of Private Eye for months. In particular because of the litigation expected to occur in Croydon. Litigation likely to be instigated by a former contractor who, like Crystal Coaches, was not allowed to tender for a new contract.

  2. Grubby. Very grubby indeed. Cllr Lindsay probably out of his depth on this one - he is a "head in the clouds" accountant more at home with gigantic plc's than service oriented family companies of K&C. Hornton Street has form here too. When Pooter bought the Bentley with an eye to his personal use the Council sacrificed Creamer and Sons (the local garage that supplied had looked after the previous Mayor's car) and took the business to Northampton.

  3. HATS/Olympic South is a spiv outfit that knows how to work the system. They bid low to get the contract but within 6 months will be back for more money quoting "unexpected costs". Lindsay is not familiar with these Spanish practices. Friends in Hammersmith will of course sign the cheque. The same practice that is rife between Hornton Street and the pavement renewal companies. £120k to repave one side of Philimore Gdns W8 - original pavement in A1 condition

  4. Everything about so-called tri-borough stinks like the rotten fish it is. Waste management in the three borough is another corrupt pile of sh**.

    Are any tri-borough council services straight?

  5. RBKC has been hit particularly hard by tri-borough working.

    But the really hard-hitter is bi-borough. Many more K&C staff have lost their jobs than have their H&F equivalents – hard working, honest and capable people now gone and standards have slipped very noticeably.

    Such is the bias in staffing that Kensington Town Hall has been dubbed the Royal Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

    Reason? Generally speaking, it’s three times more expensive to make a Hammersmith and Fulham employee redundant. It means, H&F (historically and heavily in debt) can continue to pursue its Low Council Tax policy/message to residents on the back of bi-borough savings made by making K&C staff redundant.

    In the meantime, all the architects of tri and bi-borough have left / jumped ship – all 3 Leaders, all 3 Chief Execs.

    K&C residents should be mortified. H&F residents should be very grateful indeed.

    1. Retired Chief Exeutive23 April 2014 at 13:22

      A partnership made in Hell

  6. The Rotten Borough of Hammersmith and Felony.

  7. It is obvious. We are firmly in the territory of small time local Government corruption. The job of a good Leader is to stamp out this behaviour. Over to you, Cllr Paget-Brown

  8. Not so small.

  9. yet again RBKC staff/contractors/services are the victims - eventually residents will see the folly of bi and tri borough as our excellent services fall over and die and mediocrity becomes the norm. Even our excellent Parking Team is being cut up and abused, staff will work across two sites etc whilst highways make staff redundant and then H&F starts employing people. This is all madness, short termism and unfair on staff and residents alike.

  10. Financial Scruitiny?? Something smells a bit wrong here. Star Bus, IHS Corporation and Olympic South all seem to have financial problems. Their accounts are alarming and suggest that they may not have the funds to operate a safe and legal passenger transport service. Olympic South have already been done for vehicles not being maintained properly. Does the Tri Borough know what they are doing. Letting this contract and excluding a perfectly good contractor suggests they simply have no idea about this type of very sensitive service. The Auditors should be called in to this one.

  11. Just throwing it out there..... How did HATS get the old Crystals Yard? I thought it was up for development? Were brown envelopes used here? Or did HATS hold a gun to the head of the Tri Borough


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