TWO council leaders have taken the groundbreaking move to share a Chief Executive – reaching beyond the capital’s border for the first time.
Barking and Dagenham, a London borough and Thurrock, a unitary council in Essex will share a Chief Executive on an interim basis within the next few weeks – the first time such an arrangement has crossed the boundary lines of the capital.
The opportunity has arisen following the notice of resignation of the Barking and Dagenham Chief Executive, Stella Manzie. Graham Farrant, Chief Executive of neighbouring Thurrock Council will now make plans to share the role on an interim basis.
Cllr. Liam Smith, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is an opportunity that we simply cannot afford to ignore. Here in Barking and Dagenham, we’re going to have to make massive savings next year – and we’ve come to a point where front line services are going to be hit.
“But a deal like this, should it come off, opens the way to make huge savings in our overheads and management costs, taking the pressure off the services that local people want and need.
“We have a good relationship with Thurrock and have discussed the idea of sharing the Chief Executive role on an interim basis while long-term decisions are being made.
Thurrock’s Chief Executive, Graham Farrant, is ideal for this interim arrangement. He has made some impressive changes in Thurrock and, as a former Barking and Dagenham Chief Executive, he knows the area well and understands the issues we face.”
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr John Kent, said: “I’m delighted Thurrock has been approached, and we will do everything we can to help Barking and Dagenham.
“We already benefit from sharing legal services and the Monitoring Officer, and sharing the Chief Executive role for now could be of great benefit to both councils.
“Sharing our Chief Executive on an interim basis will give Barking and Dagenham time to decide on their long-term plans and allow both councils to see how a shared Chief Executive role might work and whether there are options for sharing other services.”