Harrow Borough Council chief executive: Political leaders have their say

Council chief executive: Political leaders have their say

Council chief executive: Political leaders have their say

First published in News
Last updated

Harrow Borough Council's ruling Labour group last week announced it would be consulting staff on reinstating the authority's chief executive post, only months after the previous Tory administration axed the job. This week, the leaders of both groups set out their positions.

Leader of the council Cllr David Perry writes: “In November 2013, the then leader of the Council Susan Hall deleted the post of chief executive with absolute minimal consultation in a knee-jerk reaction to save money and put in place the current interim senior management arrangement of a joint head of paid service and corporate director. Overnight, the Tory Administration destabilised Harrow Council, which to this day has operated with a void at the top of the organisation.

The Labour Party in Harrow stood on a platform of consultation and engagement at the recent elections and we also gave a commitment to start a review of the senior management arrangements within the first 30 days of our administration, if elected. We understand this is a critically important decision, as effective officer leadership is essential to find and deliver the £75m of Tory Government cuts, imposed on the people of Harrow, over the next four years. So, unlike the previous administration, we are seeking the views of all councillors and all council affiliated staff, combined totalling nearly 5,000 people.

We have met with senior council staff to ask for their professional guidance on a range of potential senior management options, which included

• Sharing a chief executive with another council

• Creating a new head of paid service role such as managing director, borough manager or chief operating officer

• Sharing the role between the corporate directors.

Having considered the potential options, we have decided to move forward with the following options, on which we now want to consult you to get your views:

Option 1: Appointing a chief executive This would mean reinstating the post of chief executive, who would also be the council’s head of paid service.

Option 2: Making permanent the current interim arrangement of a joint head of paid service and corporate director This would mean permanently appointing one of the corporate directors to carry out the head of paid service role, in addition to their corporate director role.

All the responses will be fed back for the Labour administration to review and for a recommendation to be brought to cabinet in September outlining a way forward. No final decisions will be made until all responses have been analysed.

In order to stabilise the council, the current interim arrangements will remain in place until a permanent appointment is made.

I am pleased that staff have responded well to this consultation and are taking the opportunity to contribute. The Tories in Harrow continue to play party political games with this issue and must remember that the future success of the council is important and I for one feel the people of Harrow made the correct decision not to trust the Tories at the May elections, and elected a positive Labour vision for the future of our borough.”

Comments (13)

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9:00pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Harrow Alan says...

You still haven't explained why you're only consulting staff about this - ignoring everyone else in Harrow.

You also wouldn't be consulting unless you were looking for justification to bring it back, so we can all assume you've made up your mind already. £200,000 jobs for some - no bin collections for the rest of us.
You still haven't explained why you're only consulting staff about this - ignoring everyone else in Harrow. You also wouldn't be consulting unless you were looking for justification to bring it back, so we can all assume you've made up your mind already. £200,000 jobs for some - no bin collections for the rest of us. Harrow Alan
  • Score: 10

10:08am Thu 31 Jul 14

Anthony Harrow says...

Let the people that Voted for these idiots Pay the Salary Then!
Let the people that Voted for these idiots Pay the Salary Then! Anthony Harrow
  • Score: 7

10:11am Thu 31 Jul 14

Anthony Harrow says...

Carry on at this rate and these idiots will reinstate a Town Clerk!
Carry on at this rate and these idiots will reinstate a Town Clerk! Anthony Harrow
  • Score: 5

10:16am Thu 31 Jul 14

Anthony Harrow says...

A question for Cllr David Perry , will the current Department Heads get a Pay decrease to go with decreased responsibility?
I suppose your answer will be NO?
A question for Cllr David Perry , will the current Department Heads get a Pay decrease to go with decreased responsibility? I suppose your answer will be NO? Anthony Harrow
  • Score: 10

12:48pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

The consultation is welcome since it was promised.However,it'
s NOT a fair and proper one if it is merely for staff and Councillors---even if they number 5000.

For a start,many staff members may feel too intimidated or insecure to speak their minds for fear of being targetted---no one can prove these things but they DO happen---and Councillors will neatly fall into two main political categories plus some of the smaller ones such as UKIP and the Independents.

This feels more like an "internal arrangemen"t and not a public consultation which is what is required to decide spending the large sum of money required and the manner in which the post should be shaped.

More importantly,it's not just the 5000 consulted within the Council who contribute our taxes.The PUBLIC of Harrow have to do that.I am not advocating or pre-judging what most citizens might wish to do.They should be given the freedom to make up their own minds on an issue which has caused quite a stir!

Surely,it would surely be fairer and more democratic to get the people of Harrow on board,rather than hold the limited consultation proposed.Makes precious little sense and more like a fait accompli.

Harrow has been through too much of late.TRANSPARENCY must be a priority of our newly elected group.We need to be clean and SEEN TO BE CLEAN.

Should those in charge consider following this route please let us not just post consultation forms online but also make it possible for our citizens to have access to other means to feed their views back to Harrow Council.Maybe have a public meeting before voting one way or another!
This is surely what needs to happen before making a decision in September.Otherwise the Local Authority risks the wrath of a section of the population who may see exactly the opposite of what they wanted.Can we afford to alienate local citizens in an age where we are focussing on a localised agenda.?

Humbly made the above suggestions and hope no offence is taken,since none is meant.
The consultation is welcome since it was promised.However,it' s NOT a fair and proper one if it is merely for staff and Councillors---even if they number 5000. For a start,many staff members may feel too intimidated or insecure to speak their minds for fear of being targetted---no one can prove these things but they DO happen---and Councillors will neatly fall into two main political categories plus some of the smaller ones such as UKIP and the Independents. This feels more like an "internal arrangemen"t and not a public consultation which is what is required to decide spending the large sum of money required and the manner in which the post should be shaped. More importantly,it's not just the 5000 consulted within the Council who contribute our taxes.The PUBLIC of Harrow have to do that.I am not advocating or pre-judging what most citizens might wish to do.They should be given the freedom to make up their own minds on an issue which has caused quite a stir! Surely,it would surely be fairer and more democratic to get the people of Harrow on board,rather than hold the limited consultation proposed.Makes precious little sense and more like a fait accompli. Harrow has been through too much of late.TRANSPARENCY must be a priority of our newly elected group.We need to be clean and SEEN TO BE CLEAN. Should those in charge consider following this route please let us not just post consultation forms online but also make it possible for our citizens to have access to other means to feed their views back to Harrow Council.Maybe have a public meeting before voting one way or another! This is surely what needs to happen before making a decision in September.Otherwise the Local Authority risks the wrath of a section of the population who may see exactly the opposite of what they wanted.Can we afford to alienate local citizens in an age where we are focussing on a localised agenda.? Humbly made the above suggestions and hope no offence is taken,since none is meant. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Thu 31 Jul 14

jackdaw says...

I agree with the above comments. When you are spending OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY you ought at the vey least ask the folks who will paying for the chief executive's salary through their Council Tax.

By consulting only council staff it would seem to reek of a lack of transparency. Also the replies from the staff should be done so they are not identifiable otherwise there will be the suspicion that they will have to vote a certain way to either please their manager and retain their jobs.

What voters want is openness and honesty.
I agree with the above comments. When you are spending OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY you ought at the vey least ask the folks who will paying for the chief executive's salary through their Council Tax. By consulting only council staff it would seem to reek of a lack of transparency. Also the replies from the staff should be done so they are not identifiable otherwise there will be the suspicion that they will have to vote a certain way to either please their manager and retain their jobs. What voters want is openness and honesty. jackdaw
  • Score: 5

3:15pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

Just occurred to me.This consultation,because it's limited at present to a few select people,ie staff and Councillors,is ending in September.A large number of people are on summer leave--including staff and Councillors.!How fair is that to the people of Harrow?

Please ensure you only have GENUINE consultations and not ones that r amount to eye-wash.The public of Harrow is not interested in the politics of our Council.We are very keen on HAVING OUR VOICE HEARD.You cannot side-line us and then come back to ask for increase in taxes!

The Local Authority will only succeed if they make special efforts to make us feel truly empowered,thus encouraging us to have a genuine stake in all matters essential to the smooth running of our borough.

Anything less than that will make us feel cheated of the right to stand up and be counted.!This is my humble opinion made in the interests of local citizens.Period.
Just occurred to me.This consultation,because it's limited at present to a few select people,ie staff and Councillors,is ending in September.A large number of people are on summer leave--including staff and Councillors.!How fair is that to the people of Harrow? Please ensure you only have GENUINE consultations and not ones that r amount to eye-wash.The public of Harrow is not interested in the politics of our Council.We are very keen on HAVING OUR VOICE HEARD.You cannot side-line us and then come back to ask for increase in taxes! The Local Authority will only succeed if they make special efforts to make us feel truly empowered,thus encouraging us to have a genuine stake in all matters essential to the smooth running of our borough. Anything less than that will make us feel cheated of the right to stand up and be counted.!This is my humble opinion made in the interests of local citizens.Period. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: 3

6:09pm Fri 1 Aug 14

diligaf says...

Careful David the caped crusader PC Hall will be after you... its her way or no way....
Careful David the caped crusader PC Hall will be after you... its her way or no way.... diligaf
  • Score: -3

1:09pm Mon 4 Aug 14

starbright says...

'The labour party in Harrow stood on a platform of consultation and engagement at the recent elections'.......Dav
id Perrys words. Really? For if that were truly the case then all of the taxpaying residents of Harrow would have been consulted, not just Council workers. Many Councils operate effectively nowadays without a chief executive, and Susan Hall proved that Harrow can too. There can be no excuse from the Labour administration as to why EVERYONE was not consulted. This is a vast amount of money for a role that is not needed, or could it be that Cllr Perry needs the back up as he only works 2 days a week as Leader of the Council? Either way he has not long been in power and already there is a growing army of people that are disgruntled with his lack of communication with the mere residents. He appears to be more elusive than the scarlet pimpernel! Please Cllr Perry take note and heed of the poll on here............the majority do not want a Chief exec reinstated!
'The labour party in Harrow stood on a platform of consultation and engagement at the recent elections'.......Dav id Perrys words. Really? For if that were truly the case then all of the taxpaying residents of Harrow would have been consulted, not just Council workers. Many Councils operate effectively nowadays without a chief executive, and Susan Hall proved that Harrow can too. There can be no excuse from the Labour administration as to why EVERYONE was not consulted. This is a vast amount of money for a role that is not needed, or could it be that Cllr Perry needs the back up as he only works 2 days a week as Leader of the Council? Either way he has not long been in power and already there is a growing army of people that are disgruntled with his lack of communication with the mere residents. He appears to be more elusive than the scarlet pimpernel! Please Cllr Perry take note and heed of the poll on here............the majority do not want a Chief exec reinstated! starbright
  • Score: 5

7:12pm Tue 5 Aug 14

jackdaw says...

The scarlet pimpernel did not arrange for the lights to be dimmed at Harrow Civic Centre yesterday. Was Harrow council the only council in the land to disrespect the sacrifices made by those who fought in the first world war?

A public apology by the council leader is due to the residents and workers of Harrow who expected Harrow council to respect the fallen.
The scarlet pimpernel did not arrange for the lights to be dimmed at Harrow Civic Centre yesterday. Was Harrow council the only council in the land to disrespect the sacrifices made by those who fought in the first world war? A public apology by the council leader is due to the residents and workers of Harrow who expected Harrow council to respect the fallen. jackdaw
  • Score: 4

11:42pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Yogesh says...

As Cllr. Perry states, it was in their manifesto and they are complying with it. The question should be asked as to how many people read their manifesto before voting for them?
They have many promises in their manifesto. Cllr. Perry is now delivering on his promise. We will now await for him to delivery on all other manifesto promises.
How long will we have to wait?
Will they delivery on every manifesto promise?
Who is going to monitor that they do deliver on their manifesto promise, I suppose it will not be the people who voted for them.
Cllr. Perry can you please give us the list of your manifesto promises in order of delivery or is that too much to ask. Do we need to remind you of your manifesto promises?
I and many others are still waiting on the responses from previous questions. Will they be answered?
One of the mantra of your party was 'we are listening', then why are you not responding to the questions?
As Cllr. Perry states, it was in their manifesto and they are complying with it. The question should be asked as to how many people read their manifesto before voting for them? They have many promises in their manifesto. Cllr. Perry is now delivering on his promise. We will now await for him to delivery on all other manifesto promises. How long will we have to wait? Will they delivery on every manifesto promise? Who is going to monitor that they do deliver on their manifesto promise, I suppose it will not be the people who voted for them. Cllr. Perry can you please give us the list of your manifesto promises in order of delivery or is that too much to ask. Do we need to remind you of your manifesto promises? I and many others are still waiting on the responses from previous questions. Will they be answered? One of the mantra of your party was 'we are listening', then why are you not responding to the questions? Yogesh
  • Score: 2

3:52pm Wed 6 Aug 14

jackdaw says...

it is a good job that council tax payers do not go on strike. The poll by the Harrow Times shows the majority do not want the new chief executive. If David Perry goes ahead with the appointment he will have shown utter contempt for the voters of Harrow.

The light event for the first world war was not observed by Harrow council at the civic centre which has annoyed residents. Is there going to be a public apology form Cllr Dave?
it is a good job that council tax payers do not go on strike. The poll by the Harrow Times shows the majority do not want the new chief executive. If David Perry goes ahead with the appointment he will have shown utter contempt for the voters of Harrow. The light event for the first world war was not observed by Harrow council at the civic centre which has annoyed residents. Is there going to be a public apology form Cllr Dave? jackdaw
  • Score: 2

10:21pm Thu 7 Aug 14

concerned British citizen says...

In our opinion Harrow Council does not have transparent nor credible policies - on much at all.

They claim various successes in their glossy mag "Harrow People" that must cost a fortune to make - but smacks of self serving agrandisement that has very little foundation considering the huge sacrifice and suffering many residents of Harrow are going through at the moment.

This is also from a council that cannot even empty the bins properly and leaves rubbish rotting for weeks worse than many third world countries.

Transparency and accountability from Harrow Council is severely lacking on most issues leaving many residents with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Word on the street is residents and business owners are more than under whelmed by shoddy services and zero accountability or credibilty of many Harrow council services.

Value for money from council tax at Harrow Council...we think not...!!
In our opinion Harrow Council does not have transparent nor credible policies - on much at all. They claim various successes in their glossy mag "Harrow People" that must cost a fortune to make - but smacks of self serving agrandisement that has very little foundation considering the huge sacrifice and suffering many residents of Harrow are going through at the moment. This is also from a council that cannot even empty the bins properly and leaves rubbish rotting for weeks worse than many third world countries. Transparency and accountability from Harrow Council is severely lacking on most issues leaving many residents with a bitter taste in their mouths. Word on the street is residents and business owners are more than under whelmed by shoddy services and zero accountability or credibilty of many Harrow council services. Value for money from council tax at Harrow Council...we think not...!! concerned British citizen
  • Score: 2

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