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Tuesday, 28 March 2017


The Dame thinks this pretty well sums it all up.
What possible experience did Derek Myers or Pooter Cockell have to conduct this dangerous and ill-advised experiment.

Retired Chief Executive
In June 2012 I wrote to Cllr Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea as follows:

"Any organisation can only serve one "brain" otherwise it becomes dysfunctional. We are proceeding with three Leaders and three Cabinets. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The Chief Executive selected to run a merged operation has to be recruited from outside the shareholders. If he comes from one of the hosts there will always be suspicion from the others and authority will be undermined and then it breaks down.The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

If costs have to be reduced by re engineering an organisation, then lines of control have to be shortened and power concentrated. But we are building a shared power organisation and distributed organisation. The TRI Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Merger and integration is high risk. There is no point contemplating it unless savings of ca 30% can be demonstrated on paper (and empirically only about 10% will be obtained). The three Boroughs spend about £2 billion. 30% is £800 million. But Tri Borough savings were projected to be ca £20m to £30m at the outset and now £40 million is being trumpeted. Paltry in the scheme of things and they will be swept away by risk. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST.

The personality of the Chief Executive needs to be understood and a performance/reward framework put in place to match his behaviour to the desired outcome. The dual appraisal arrangement by K&C and Hammersmith is a classic "divide and rule" trap. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

The Chief Executive needs to report to a single master. Mr Myers will report to two masters. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner drivers need to be aligned. Westminster and K&C have guaranteed Conservative majorities.The Leaders are on a long leash. Hammersmith is a marginal council (Conservatives in survival mode). The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

Shareholder/owner constituencies need to be aligned. The demographics of Hammersmith are fundamentally different from K&C/Westminster. The Tri Borough FAILS THIS TEST

In my experience any integration programme will fail if any one of the rules above are broken.


  1. For decades RBKC has spent residents' funds as if they belonged to elected members and officers. The denizens of Horton Street are certain that the public will continue to vote Tory regardless of successive, expensive failures - and Trixit will be very expensive.

    The recent change of personalities at the top of the Town Hall hierarchy has not improved matters. The idea that a district auditor acts on the public's behalf is delusional. Successive district auditors act as the running dogs of those who pay their fees. The fee payers are officers and councillors in that order. Without officers' help, most issues are too complex for elected members to understand and most councillors are too lazy to even try. Why would they rock the (gravy) boat?

    So RBKC is riddled with corruption, most of it probably fairly minor, but not. Nothing is ever done. RBKC's overriding policy has always been to tolerate and hide, its many corrupt practices. Hammersmith & Fulham is still worse.

    Consequently most residents don't bother to vote in local elections because they distrust their local council. Low voter turnout encourages municipal malpractice; completing the circle.

    H & F and WCC are doubtless similar. It's worth noting that the newly elected Labour party has not exactly rushed to clean up H & F.

  2. The letter to the then Leader of the Royal Borough, Cllr Cockell, was very clear and rather compelling. Clearly it was brushed aside. Maybe it was not even read.

    It would sometimes be useful if our elected representatives listened to their residents. Especially those residents who have experience of subjects and a track record to share.

    1. Drain The Swamp28 March 2017 at 19:48

      Tri Borough had nothing to do with "synergies". It was an attention grabbing exercise by Pooter Cockle to get himself noticed as part of his personal campaign to get a political nomination for the Lords. The Dame put paid to that. Mercifully.

      Long live the Dame

    2. Retired Executive is very liberal with his "Fails This Test". What he does not point out is that the perpetrator (Pooter Cockle) was a failed fag salesman. No need to intellectualize about the project - it was doomed from the outset.

      Careers of hard working Officers were destroyed, the local Government organisation for Kensington and Chelsea was torpedoed, the quality of life of many vulnerable residents deteriorated, and hard pressed tax payers are having to pay even more taxes.

      For a start, the current Leader of the Borough, Cllr Paget-Brown, should apologise to residents and council tax payers for a massive mistake, stupidity and hubris.

  3. We Too Have A Voice28 March 2017 at 18:24

    What a corker!

  4. When one reads something like this, it becomes incredible to think that our Cabinet would even contemplate such a stupidity. Virgins discussing copulation.......

    1. Lord Kensington29 March 2017 at 07:36

      Easy on, 19.40. A little more decorum, please.

  5. This is one for Cllr Mellen- Rock to sort out

  6. the irony is that LBHF are ahead of all 3 councils and are leading on the break up as they have already pulled out of bi and tri borough projects including the ill advised Agresso mystery adventure

  7. THE MAN WITH NO NAME28 March 2017 at 22:39

    This letter was written by a man who has led two major international groups.
    It was ignored by an ex social worker(Myers) and an ex tobacco salesman, Pooter Cockell. I rest my case.....

  8. Local Government is spending more and more money, seeking more and more power, and taking more and more complex decisions. It needs better qualified people (Officers and Councillors) with more relevant experience if this is to be successful.

    The days of smoke filled rooms for Masons, failed people and small timers has passed. Unfortunately, the electorate has not cottoned on yet. But a few more "Tri Boroughs and Chelsea Cares" will deliver the wake up call.

    The days are numbered for the Fielding-Mellens, Weales, and E Campbells of this world.

    1. Drain The Swamp29 March 2017 at 10:29

      It is not only Mellen, Weale and Campbell. There are quite a few more vapor heads in positions to do damage. Coleridge, Marshall, Lightfoot and Warrick to name a few more.

      Leader Paget-Brown has the option to bring on more talent. Cllrs Mills, Moylan and Mackover come to mind. Why is Piggy dragging his feet?

    2. Supporter of Moylan29 March 2017 at 10:36

      D M is ready and willing to serve residents with his ability, determination and clear thinking.

    3. Has he got time? After all, he has two failing property trusts which he is a non exec of. Both have lost investors a fortune. I expect those investors don't think he has the attributes claimed by Supporter of Moylan!

  9. Last night's segment on BBC London News was refreshing, but somehow championed for H&F, rather than call it is scoundrel.
    In respect of 'audit' you have to thank Cameron from abolishing the Audit Commission. Although useless, it was at least a smoke screen for complaints.
    I and many other Badgers are of the opinion that the National Audit Office (NAO) who is responsible for Central Government audit, should also take on the audit of Local Authorities - after all - it is a Government, although a local one. Something for the 38 degrees or the to get involved in.
    In the meantime, RBKC and many others will get away with anything and everything whilst the 'armchair' auditors are bamboozled by rubbish from the Councils. Don' forget, the Councils are entitled NOT to produce anything on the grounds of 'commercial confidentiality[ - so you are doomed from the beginning. amen


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