Richmond Council To Share Staff With Wandsworth

Earlier today Richmond and Wandsworth Councils announced that they plan to create a ‘single staffing structure’ across the Boroughs by March 2017, saving up to £10m in the process.

It is proposed that the two councils would be managed by a single Chief Executive, Paul Martin, currently Chief Executive at Wandsworth, and a Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Resources – Mark Maidment, currently Richmond’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

Both councils would remain independently elected bodies, but will take advantage of potential cost savings in staffing and when procuring services.  The implication is that jobs could be lost in both Boroughs.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

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Lord True

“With the country continuing to borrow at a disturbingly high rate, every part of the public sector will be called upon to make further savings, whoever is in Government after May. Richmond cannot be immune.

We have already made savings of £30million over the past four years; we know we need to make the same again in the period to 2018. We have said – and residents strongly support this – that we wanted to do as much of this as possible by sharing management costs with others.”

Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“I very much welcome the chance to work closely with Richmond… By working together we can tap into more opportunities for savings and innovation that will mean better outcomes for residents”.”

Not everyone in the council is happy with this plan.  Stephen Knight, Lib Dem London Assembly Member and Leader of the Opposition on Richmond upon Thames Council, tweeted:

In July 2014 Richmond Council announced plans to merge services with Kingston Borough but those discussions ended in December.

“We had hoped for a total deal with Kingston, but after six months of talks no conclusion had been reached. We could not agree on a single, joint management approach which could work effectively for both authorities.”, commented Lord True.

However, not everyone believes this proposed merging of teams will go ahead.

According to the BBC in an article titled Job loss fears over Wandsworth and Richmond ‘council merger’, the deputy leader of Wandsworth Council’s Labour party, said: “My first thought is why is Wandsworth arriving at this party so late because other councils have already set this up and our two previous attempts have ended up not happening. I’m pretty sceptical.”