Saturday, March 2, 2024

Kent exasperated by Tories “skewing the truth” over Barking and Dagenham

IT LOOKS like this one will run and run right up to the local and european elections and beyond.

Council leader John Kent has gone on record to, as he sees it, set the record straight over the Tory line that there is a “merger by stealth” between Thurrock and Barking and Dagenham.

Cllr Kent said: “As ever Cllr Anderson needs to get his facts right and to stop trying to skew the truth when speaking or writing to the media and the local electorate.

As the recommendation from November 2012 he refers to and anyone who reads it can see, it does not refer to “a fully joint management team” but to develop options. The fact this recommendation was lost does not mean Thurrock Council cannot continue to pursue all options.

In fact in the year and a half since this meeting we have only made two committed changes to the shared management – the assistant chief executive and the head of policy.

We were already sharing the chief executive and head of legal, moves which had the full support of Cllr Anderson and his followers.

The sharing of the director of environment – on an interim basis – comes to an end in the summer; he has provided much-needed experience and support to the department but this was always a short term move.

As we have made clear, time after time, any shared management roles and shared service should only be adopted when they benefit Thurrock’s council tax payers. The thought that adult social care, children’s services or housing services should be shared is not an option nor has it ever been.

We have been concentrating on sharing “back office” teams and senior officers. In each case the options are considered before decisions are made and not all go through. Sometimes it becomes obvious the best option for Thurrock is not to share – so we don’t. Simple and sensible.

It is important to remember that we are doing this to help deal with the deepest cuts ever made to local government funding. Thurrock has already had £30 million cut from its budgets with £25 million more to come. We are saving £1 million a year through sharing services with others – half of that with Barking and Dagenham. Thurrock Conservatives need to come clean and tell us what extra cuts they would make instead of continuing to share some senior officers.

To me, Cllr Anderson’s hysterical and constant inaccurate assertion that Thurrock and Barking and Dagenham are “merging” is just another confirmation that he and the Tories have no ideas of their own and in their desperate and panicked wish to hold on to their seats are forced to make up and highlight untruths.

No matter how often we demonstrate their comments are wrong and untrue, they insist on repeating them in ever-more hysterical and high-pitched fashion. Presumably they believe: if it’s said often enough, people will believe it.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. For once I totally agree with Cllr Kent, this is Tory scaremongering in a desperate attempt to hold onto seats next month. The idea of sharing council services is a Tory idea which the council is using to save money, which in these days of austerity is understandable. Won’t be long now folks before the Tory leaflets saying “No to London Borough of Thurrock” will be coming through your letter box!!!

  2. So why Barking and Dagenham. Why not Havering, Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point. The obvious answer is Barking and Dagenham are the only Labour run authority and like Kent they want to be able to fudge the books so nobody knows what’s really going on. They won’t get that support from a Tory run council. Kent likes the look of the stranglehold Labour have on power in Barking and Dagenham and would like more of the same in Thurrock which is why he’s so pleased the living standards of people living in Thurrock are going down the pan. The more Labour supporters coming in the merrier for him and his cherished allowances and expenses.

  3. I had always understood that this was about the sharing of the professional staffing of the Council to achieve economies. In this sense, it’s what any decent well-run business would do. I would include the public sector as much as I would the private.

    It’s the politicians who set the policy and the officers who carry it out.

    Why do the Conservatives, who seem to think they understand how business works, rail against what the Labour members are pursuing? Perhaps none of them are involved in running businesses, but prefer to play at politics.

  4. this was actually suggested by the conservative government ,thurrock tories are totally useless.

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