The Triborough project marches on as the Heads of Westminster, Kennsington & Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham meet with local Unisons to discuss ways to move forward. So far the project aims to save £1.6M between all three boroughs in the first year and £35M in the next.
The claim is that these savings will prodominantly come from a reduction in senior staff members i.e. We will only need one Chief Executive Officer earning more than the Prime Minister rather than three. This may also be the case for some department heads and local managers, although the aim is to maintain some local autonony.
less publicised but possibly offering the bulk of savings is the amalgamation of contracts between all three boroughs for stock, cleaning, etc, and the harmonising of staff wages across all three authorities.
In a recent Triborough report, the update on libraries is as follows:
'The Proposals include a proposition for a combined three borough library service, whilst retaining borough branding on buildings. This will help reduce management costs and overheads.
A future option is floated – that at a future date and subject to further option appraisal, this combined library service is transferred to external management – perhaps through a new charitable trust – to provide enhanced opportunities for library users and other residents to be involved and to add volunteering effort.'
Further evidence of the direction for this project can be seen by the actions of The Director of Libraries, David Ruse who has made visits to Westminster Library and a Kensington and Chelsea school to consider the possibility of merging the two in a similar style to the new Pimlico Academy.
It's no wonder "Only 29% of residents say they feel informed about how the council plans to deal with reductions in their budget" in a triborough survey that questioned 500 resisdents across all three boroughs.
Apparently "Two thirds of residents (63%) say they trust the council to make the right spending decisions." which is a shame considering only "Half of residents (50%) have heard of current discussions on possible sharing of services between the authorities, but only a small proportion (one in ten) say they know a great deal or fair amount about this"