Tory-run Richmond and Kingston councils announce they will "share services wherever possible"

Tory-run Richmond and Kingston announce they will

Tory-run Richmond and Kingston announce they will "share services wherever possible"

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Kingston and Richmond Council have announced plans to share services “wherever possible” to save between £5m and £8m.

Workers were emailed the news about the ‘Thames Agreement’ this morning by council chief executives Bruce McDonald and Gillian Norton.

Kingston Council’s Conservative leader Kevin Davis tweeted: “For local authorities to survive austerity need bold decisions not patching."

But Liberal Democrat opposition leader Councillor Liz Green said: "I must have missed that in their election pledge."

She said the decision had been made "behind closed doors" and without being scrutinised following the axe of the Scrutiny Panel by the Tories. 

The two Conservative-run neighbouring councils already share human resources, audit and legal services.

Last year the two councils created a social enterprise company Achieving for Children to run children’s services.

Kingston and Sutton councils merged their backroom IT services last year under the previous Liberal Democrat administration.

Leader of Richmond Council Lord True: "Whilst the approach will look at merging staffing structures and integrating operational arrangements, it will not merge the two councils."

Mr McDonald said in his email: “This proposal is not about merging the two councils.

"The approach will look at integrating operational arrangements and merging staffing structures where appropriate but both Kingston and Richmond Councils will continue to be separate sovereign bodies which define the particular policies and programmes they want to be delivered.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Richmond Councillor Stephen Knight said there will be “very widespread consequences for local democracy".

He added: “There are many critical questions that need to be answered before such a plan should be taken forward and so far they haven't even been asked, let alone answered."

The proposals which will include cost savings and consultation arrangements, are expected to be published early next year.

Kingston Council has already cut the number of workers on its payroll by a third over three years - from 2,128 in March 2010 to 1,395 in June 2014.

Have you noticed a change in the services you receive from Kingston or Richmond Council? Email ndewji@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (8)

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5:30pm Mon 21 Jul 14

&anotherthing says...

What a very sad day for wonderful, unique Kingston.
Inspite of all the hard work that dedicated staff over many years, who have weathered cuts/redundancies and all the uncertainty that comes with them, have achieved, the borough is about to throw away its real assets the people who work so hard to make Kingston, Kingston. Richmond is a much larger borough, relatively cash rich (investing £1m a year in its theatre) and will roll over this smaller borough effortlessly.
To suggest that this is not a merger is disingenuous at best. Dreadful news. No wonder the Scrutiny Panel was scrapped. Obviously, plans were already in place and Kingston residents will have no say. Dreadful, under-handed and just what Conservatives can be capable of....
Be careful what you wish for is all that can be said to those residents who voted for Cllr Davis and any of the Cllrs who placed him at their helm.
What a very sad day for wonderful, unique Kingston. Inspite of all the hard work that dedicated staff over many years, who have weathered cuts/redundancies and all the uncertainty that comes with them, have achieved, the borough is about to throw away its real assets the people who work so hard to make Kingston, Kingston. Richmond is a much larger borough, relatively cash rich (investing £1m a year in its theatre) and will roll over this smaller borough effortlessly. To suggest that this is not a merger is disingenuous at best. Dreadful news. No wonder the Scrutiny Panel was scrapped. Obviously, plans were already in place and Kingston residents will have no say. Dreadful, under-handed and just what Conservatives can be capable of.... Be careful what you wish for is all that can be said to those residents who voted for Cllr Davis and any of the Cllrs who placed him at their helm. &anotherthing
  • Score: -4

6:24pm Mon 21 Jul 14

0753waterloo says...

The "Richmondification" of Kingston begins today. A sad day indeed.

First Davis removes power from Kingston residents, then he sells the council down the river. Why did he not just stand in Richmond when came back from his failure in Yeovil, rather than drag us all down with him.
The "Richmondification" of Kingston begins today. A sad day indeed. First Davis removes power from Kingston residents, then he sells the council down the river. Why did he not just stand in Richmond when came back from his failure in Yeovil, rather than drag us all down with him. 0753waterloo
  • Score: -3

10:17pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Twotonted says...

If as tax payers we can save one third of the cost without loss of service, this makes sense. It just shows how much of our money was wasted by council 'prestige' in the past.
If as tax payers we can save one third of the cost without loss of service, this makes sense. It just shows how much of our money was wasted by council 'prestige' in the past. Twotonted
  • Score: 2

6:12am Tue 22 Jul 14

Beverly RA says...

Hi , it our money and if savings can be made on Administration go for it. All the political parties started down this road years ago in every Borough of London,
Hi , it our money and if savings can be made on Administration go for it. All the political parties started down this road years ago in every Borough of London, Beverly RA
  • Score: 5

7:30am Tue 22 Jul 14

0753waterloo says...

Twotonted wrote:
If as tax payers we can save one third of the cost without loss of service, this makes sense. It just shows how much of our money was wasted by council 'prestige' in the past.
I'm not sure where you got 1/3 savings from, but these changes will not maintain service levels. Expect longer waits for service and longer journeys to speak to council workers.
And as Kingston will be the junior partner in this non-merger, we'll have very little say in it.
[quote][p][bold]Twotonted[/bold] wrote: If as tax payers we can save one third of the cost without loss of service, this makes sense. It just shows how much of our money was wasted by council 'prestige' in the past.[/p][/quote]I'm not sure where you got 1/3 savings from, but these changes will not maintain service levels. Expect longer waits for service and longer journeys to speak to council workers. And as Kingston will be the junior partner in this non-merger, we'll have very little say in it. 0753waterloo
  • Score: 3

10:26am Tue 22 Jul 14

reesmf says...

Shared Services have been heralded as a way of reducing costs in the Public Sector ever since the Gershon Report in 2004 but while the expectations have been high the reality has never matched these, or even come close, and several high-profile schemes have collapsed. The bottom-line is that there are no economies of scale to be made, the costs are all in the individual transactions (the flow) and combining services does nothing to reduce these.
Shared Services have been heralded as a way of reducing costs in the Public Sector ever since the Gershon Report in 2004 but while the expectations have been high the reality has never matched these, or even come close, and several high-profile schemes have collapsed. The bottom-line is that there are no economies of scale to be made, the costs are all in the individual transactions (the flow) and combining services does nothing to reduce these. reesmf
  • Score: 3

11:26pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Twickenham Bob says...

The most obvious cost saving will be to get rid of one of the Chief Execs - will save around half million a year in a stroke!
The most obvious cost saving will be to get rid of one of the Chief Execs - will save around half million a year in a stroke! Twickenham Bob
  • Score: 2

7:57am Wed 23 Jul 14

0753waterloo says...

Beverly RA wrote:
Hi , it our money and if savings can be made on Administration go for it. All the political parties started down this road years ago in every Borough of London,
Odd. On 13 May, in an article about the shared service 'Achieving for Children' you commented that the Lib Dems were living 'on a different planet to ordinary working people' and you were against rationalisation.

Now you are happy for this incredibly far reaching merger to take place.

It is a good job you aren't in the council or I'd be demanding to know why you say one thing before an election and another after.


http://www.thisisloc
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ston/11207765.Kingst
on_parents_battling_
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[quote][p][bold]Beverly RA[/bold] wrote: Hi , it our money and if savings can be made on Administration go for it. All the political parties started down this road years ago in every Borough of London,[/p][/quote]Odd. On 13 May, in an article about the shared service 'Achieving for Children' you commented that the Lib Dems were living 'on a different planet to ordinary working people' and you were against rationalisation. Now you are happy for this incredibly far reaching merger to take place. It is a good job you aren't in the council or I'd be demanding to know why you say one thing before an election and another after. http://www.thisisloc allondon.co.uk/where ilive/southwest/king ston/11207765.Kingst on_parents_battling_ for_schools_places__ will_face_trek_to_Tw ickenham_for_face_to _face_interviews_/ 0753waterloo
  • Score: 7

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