It's good to share

by Mike Katz / @mikekatz

The big news of the moment in Camden is the announcement on Wednesday that Camden and Islington councils are seriously exploring the possibility of sharing a Chief Executive and senior management team.

The idea behind this sort of move – talked about a lot, but a first in London – is that you save money on your back office costs, so as to ensure as much money as possible can be spent on frontline services. In the context of the ConDem’s government slash-and-burn approach to public services, in reality, this means minimising cuts to services – something both Labour councils are absolutely committed to.

The savings don’t come just from minimising senior staff costs; it’s about the wider savings which come from joint buying of goods and services.  For instance, this has started in some areas; earlier this year both councils committed to jointly procure the new school meals contract, saving over £150,000. 

If you want more details, you may find this Q&A briefing prepared by Camden of interest.

People in Kilburn and West Hampstead have already asked me if this will affect our relationship with Brent, and force a more ‘easterly’ bias in Camden.

In all honesty, I don’t think so. 

Kilburn councillors in both Camden and Brent have already been talking to each other, and our respective Cabinet members, about the special needs and potential for the High Road.  We both work with groups like Kilburn Business Friends and other community organisations, as well as campaign on issues of joint concern, like the closure of the Kilburn CNWL campus

We’re in regular contact and looking to foster co-operation between the two boroughs; we’d be doing this if it had been Brent, rather than Islington, Camden had ended up progressing this plan with.  And we’d be doing the same if there were no plans to share senior management with anyone.

(And on a practical level, one of the reasons Islington is an obvious partner is that their Chief Executive is due to step down next year, making the whole idea much easier.)

It’s exciting for Camden to be in the vanguard of such innovation. But, thanks to the close working relationship we have with fellow Labour councillors in Brent, we’ll be in a good position to share the benefits and experience of this innovation.

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  • […] and Islington Albion develops, Mike Katz – Kilburn councillor – is on reassurance patrol. He’s blogging about it being good to share here: People in Kilburn and West Hampstead have already asked me if this will affect our relationship […]