Thursday, May 30, 2024

Council leader Kent’s “Obsession with Barking” slammed by Tories

CONSERVATIVE leader Cllr Phil Anderson has hit back over comments made by Cllr John Kent regarding sharing of services with other councils.

Cllr Anderson said: “Cllr Kent is trying to suggest that Thurrock Conservatives are against the idea of sharing services, even going as far as to quote government ministers to prove his point. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Shared services are a great way for councils both to save money and to bring in expertise from other authorities. I can think of a number of areas where Thurrock would really benefit from this approach. Places like Southend are way ahead of us for education, we are bottom of the table for council tax complaints, and it’s hard to imagine that anywhere else in Essex has quite as many problems as Thurrock when it comes to housing repairs. We already have a few such arrangements in place, and for the record the Conservatives have voted to support them every time.

“However, Cllr Kent’s pet scheme does not really involve shared services at all. His aim is to merge the entire senior management of Thurrock Council with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham; an entirely different proposition. Given the huge challenges and opportunities that Thurrock faces, the last thing we need is to become joined at the top with one of London’s worst performing boroughs. I want the managers of our front line services focussed fully on Thurrock, not spending half their week in Barking town hall.

“Cllr Kent’s London obsession is preventing us from looking seriously at shared services with other Essex authorities. So few people in Thurrock support his Barking proposals that he has had to resort to quoting Conservative ministers in an attempt to shore up his position. The truth is that no-one else is going take Thurrock seriously as a shared service partner until we abandon Labour’s Barking and Dagenham merger plans once and for all.”


  1. Very well said. It’s time for Labour to stop trying to push Thurrock into a London Borough and start forming alliances with Essex.

  2. Has Kent finished his investigations into his councillors yet? Thought not. I suppose that’s what you get when you work part time at a job.

  3. I very much doubt that we’ll ever hear the outcome of these ‘investigations’ NoVoice. Labout think people are stupid.

  4. Cllr. Anderson says Southend are way ahead in education but according to the latest Ofsted charts, their percentages for Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate are very similar to Thurrock’s (whereas places like Newham and Redbridge are streets ahead). I do agree that we should look to partnerships in the different areas (rather than one “block” partnership) and form those partnerships with local boroughs who consistently perform well in that particular area.

  5. Thurrock Council has gone through the expensive process of employing full time senior managers which we apparently needed at the time only for that expense to be wasted because it turns out somebody didn’t do a proper assessment of those roles as it turns out we only needed part time employee’s. So wasted money once again.

    No information is available as to the full extent to which Thurrock Council is sharing senior management staff with Barking and Dagenham. We keep hearing about management and councillor junkets but there is no actual evidence published as to the savings made, the benefits to Thurrock Council in terms of efficiency or knowledge gained or anything else for taht matter.

    There doesn’t appear to have been any attempt to try to share services with other councils in Essex which would have similar problems to Thurrock. There doesn’t appear to have been any discussions among the council as a whole. If there has and the Tories agreed it then they have no complaint.

    The message being given out by Thurrock Council appears to be that Thurrock is more akin to a London borough than it isto other councils in Essex. In which case this appears to have been a deliberate attempt by the Labour party to turn Thurrock into a London borough without, once again, asking the people of the borough. Typical do as I say rule from the top Labour party.

    This appears to be more a political decision than a decision made for any other reason. If there were real benefits to the council, I’m sure the comrade would be shouting it from the rooftops. Not that any of this needed to be said as a number of people have already made these points before. So the headline is right, the comrade has a political obsession and is not doing things in the best interests or wishes of the people of Thurrock. He should resign so someone can do his job on a full time basis and perhaps sort his own councillors out.


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