Some of my best friends are, or have been, employed as "political advisers" to Conservative Councils. I hope they will not take offence by my suggestion that such posts should be abolished and their talents released for more productive uses.
When we swept to power in Hammersmith and Fulham among the earliest decisions made was to "delete" the ten posts of personal advisers to Cabinet Members saving £300,000 a year. The Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh has made plenty of other savings but this is one that he cites in his article for this week’s First magazine.
We could have simply replaced the batch of Labour courtiers and cronies with our own. But we didn’t. That helped to impress the Council staff that we were serious about cutting the Council Tax. It also meant the Council worked better. One senior officer told me it was a relief to be able to pick up the phone and speak directly to a councillor rather than have to go through an intermediary.