The tri-borough should scrap its shared chief executive in order to deliver improvements to the joint working arrangements, an independent review has recommended.
The review, chaired by Lord Adonis, found that while the shared working should continue in West London, improvements were needed to deliver better value for money and stronger accountability.
Lord Adonis said; ‘Massive cuts in funding pose a huge challenge to local government. Shared working among councils is important and it should continue in West London. However, the tri-borough arrangements need to be improved to promote leaner management and stronger accountability.
‘It is important that the sovereignty of the individual boroughs be respected. We recommend that each of the boroughs appoints its own chief executive to ensure the best possible value for money in future joint working.’
The review also said that the tri-borough arrangement should be open to other councils to provide further efficiencies.
Nicholas Holgate was appointed as the ‘bi-borough’ chief executive of both Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea in November 2013. Mr Holgate will now return to Kensington and Chelsea, and Nigel Pallace will be appointed as interim chief executive at Hammersmith and Fulham.
Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Cllr Stephen Cowan, said: ‘This landmark report lays the foundations for the future of shared services, not just at H&F, but for all local authorities who are all facing tough financial circumstances. It recommends that shared services should not be about the creation of exclusive entities, in this case 'tri-borough', which threaten local decision-making and accountability.
‘It should be about sharing with as many boroughs as possible to deliver greater savings while retaining the ability for local councillors to set their own specification and standards. This goes to the heart of each borough being able to fulfil its own democratic mandate.’