Monday, July 22, 2024

Council boss to become chief executive of Barking and Dagenham

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.”


  1. So now we know why he had to employ other people to do his job. The way Thurrock looks now isn’t any surprise is it. He turned Barking and Dagenham into a crap hole and he’s here to do the same to Thurrock. Welcome to the Londong Borough of Thurrock.

  2. No Voice, you took the words out of my mouth, is this just another nail in Thurrocks coffin as we lean further to becoming a London Borough, just like Red Ken wanted in the first place

    Why did they not look to Essex County Council to job share???

  3. Thurrock is in Essex regardless of not being within County Council control. The reason why Thurrock was made a unitary authority in the first place astounds me. There is no need for the borough to be unitary. The population is not as large as somewhere like Southend and 60% of land is greenbelt.
    I love London and like the fact that we are close to the capital but I do not want Thurrock to become another London Borough, especially considering the mess that Labour councils in London (particularly East London) have made of such areas. While there are tons of good folk in East London, no one wants Thurrock to turn into East Ham, Barking, Plaistow or Dagenham. Although there is a case that the wheels of change are already turning.

    Fortunately most good folk of Essex have a good degree of common sense and have elected Conservative councils who have made some way of improving Essex be it in Brentwood, Epping Forest, Castle Point or our close neighbour Basildon. This is why Thurrock will not form links with such places or the London Borough closest to us, Havering.

    The powers that be in the council seem to be looking to Barking and Dagenham for inspiration on how to further ‘regenerate’ the district to ensure that Thurrock ends up with a 96% Labour council for years to come just like Barking and Dagenham.

  4. If the truth be told Barking & Dagenham are skint and this is the only reason they are looking at such drastic change, as a lobour controlled council they have suddenly realised that they cannot make the savings needed and therefore need to lean on another council for help, I do not want the chief Exec of Thurrock to be shared, if he can do both jobs why are we paying him so much money?

  5. Chickenfeed is right. They may be having difficulty balancing the books as are most councils up and down the land. It goes to show how over inflated councils have become in recent years.

  6. So when did this happen? Quote “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”. They kept this quiet for the elections! Why was there no announcement when they started sharing about a year ago?. Politicians are so sly. Is this why they got rid of a load of staff at Thurrock, so that they could employ people from Barking & Dagenham? No wonder you can never get through to anyone in Thurrock if there is a problem – are all the calls being diverted to B & D too? Noone will have the guts to come out and tell us, the voters, what’s really happening behind those closed doors! This stinks!

  7. Perhaps a few of you should travel to barking and have a look around. Look at some of the new infrastructure in place like the new schools. See the investment barking town centre has profited from. Open your eyes and see the transformation barking is getting. As for thurrocks top man helping barking council, if it is only a temporary measure why is it a problem, surely Thurrock council is charging for his time ?.

  8. joe h I too have seen the new infastructure in Barking! that is exactly why B&D are now “without funds”. he labour controlled council have spent just like the last labour government, money that they didn,t really have and are now starting to smell the coffee. Look at the conservative controlled councils that border Thurrock, Havering and Brentwood, both have thriving town centres and the councils are on target to make their savings ove the coming years. because they have spent wisely, take a ride thru Dagenham and Barking and see how much the council have spent on “road furniture” promoting the fact that they have “improved roads, parks, schools etc:” then take a closer look at the actual work that has happened in Barking town centre, a market that just sells cheap rubbish and many shops that cant affod to pay their rent let alone their rates. IT IS ALL HYPE my friends. Thurrock has a real opportunity to build a lasting future, not a quick fix, there are many rengeneration projects that SHOULD build Thurrock into a place that many people want to live and work, if we have a CEO who doesnt want to be part of that , then let him go for good, However his council needs a man/woman at the helm to oversee these projects “on site” and “full time”. Lets not lose this opportunity just because 2 labour councils want to help each other out of their own hole.

  9. Please don’t try to lecture me chickenfeed. I make my own mind up on what I see, what I think and how I vote for example. You and a couple of other bloggers on this site seem to have a chips on your shoulders when it comes to running down politicians or political parties that don’t share your views. Do I care, not really but I take exception when the likes of you or whatever you proclaim as starts attempting to interfere with my comments.


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