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Greenhalghstephen Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, the Conservative leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, suggest the "Principles of Administration" for new Conservative Councils.

All Conservative Councils must seek to deliver the highest quality council services at the lowest possible cost to the council taxpayer. Here are objectives for a Conservative Administration and what we have done in Hammersmith and Fulham.

LOW TAXES

A new incoming Conservative Council must set the lowest possible council tax. The ability to cut or freeze council tax will depend on gearing (the ratio of grant funding to council tax revenue). The objectives should be set with regard to the council tax record of the previous administration and also the council tax levels of neighbouring local authorities.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is the first majority Conservative administration since 1968 and has managed to cut council tax for three years in a row by 3%.

Band D council tax increases 2006-10

Top 5 Councils*

Rank  / Local Authority  / 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 / £ / %

1. Plymouth UA  1,048 1,100 1,154 -1,210 162 15.43%
2. Trafford   941 988 1,036 1,086 145 15.35%
3. Bracknell Forest UA  973 1,020 1,071 1,123 149 15.33%
4. Dudley   963 1,009 1,058 1,109 146 15.18%
5. The Medway Towns UA 952 994 1,045 1,096 144 15.13%

Bottom 5 Councils

Rank  / Local Authority  / 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 / £ / %

407. Camden   997 997 1,022 1,022 25 2.50%
408. Westminster  371 378 378 378 7 2.02%
409. Hackney   998 998 998 998 0 0.00%
410. Hounslow   1,091 1,091 1,091 1,091 0 0.00%
411. Hammersmith & Fulham 917 889 863 837  -80   -8.73%

*Excludes police authorities and district councils

Source: DCLG Website

LESS WASTE

A new incoming Conservative Council must focus on eliminating all areas of the Council that do not support the delivery of frontline services. An incoming Conservative Council should seek to reduce annual council expenditure and reduce council debt. It is not enough to manage budgets.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council record:

  • Efficient management and contracting-out of services has lead to a reduction in the total council workforce of 18% (or 950 full time equivalent employees).
  • Spending cut by £7 million (or 4%) in cash terms. Further spending reductions of £5 million a year can be expected by extending competitive tendering.
  • Debt reduced by £20 million.

BETTER SERVICES

The key is to focus on three council priorities and stick to them. These priorities should be the most important for your residents. The key measure of success should be overall resident satisfaction with council services rather than Audit Commission ratings.

For Hammersmith & Fulham Council tackling crime and anti-social behaviour is the number one priority for local residents followed by lowering council tax and delivering cleaner streets and greener parks.

Conservative Administration Strategies

Incoming Conservative Councils must set a clear agenda for change from the first hour of the first day. This should be summarised on no more than a couple of pages.

  • Make the Council’s focus to deliver “value for money” rather than “cuts”.
  • Introduce strict budgetary controls by keeping key decision levels and delegated authority as low as possible.
  • Focus on controlling growth as well as making savings. It is the net savings that count.
  • Set up a vacancy management panel to scrutinise recruitment and ensure a Councillor approves every new post. Set targets for agency expenditure. Use natural wastage where possible rather than mass redundancies
  • Cut expenditure in all areas of council that does not support frontline service delivery (e.g. political advisers, committee coordination and communication).
  • Use competitive tendering to drive out efficiencies.
  • Sell off all underutilised assets where possible in order to reduce council debt levels.
  • Reduce the office footprint and contact points of the council over time.

In Hammersmith & Fulham Council the record is:

Competitive tendering: Tendering £90 million of cost base.

Waste: Exit of all Cabinet advisors; communications spend down (quality up) by reducing the number of communications officers from 13 down to 7, selling real advertising and bringing production of fortnightly council newspaper in-house; smarter working (e.g. H&F Advice, H&F Direct and online parking permits)

Debt: Reducing £169m debt by £20 million in 2 years – saving £1.5m a year in debt interest payments.

Be prepared to spend more money where your residents want to see better services. Maintain a minimum of weekly bin collections where possible and consider introducing same day recycling and refuse collections.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is the third highest contributor to policing in London spending £4,525,000 on 24/7 beat policing initiatives in our town centres. We also selected a more expensive contractor to manage our parks because of their track record in a neighbouring borough.

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