Labour break pledge to freeze spending on management consultants – instead spend £150,000 more

deloitteLabour’s manifesto for the Hammersmith and Council election pledged to “freeze the use of management consultants”.

Far from keeping that pledge Labour have gone on a spending binge.

A recent decision was:

“That approval be given for a direct award of a contract for up to £138,000 to Deloitte using the “ConsultancyOne” framework agreement let by Crown Commercial Services in order to undertake an independent review of the Tri-borough programme.”

That also decided to allocate an extra £12,000 for “general project costs” to round it up to £150,000.

Labour have dithered over whether or not they support Tri-borough.. even though it is providing savings of £34.6 million to the Hammersmith and Fulham Council Taxpayer this year.

So setting up a Critical Friends Board was a convenient political fudge. In reality they are not going to pull out of it as stumping up £34.6 million of savings elsewhere would be rather problematic for them.

Certainly there is potential for achieving further savings in shared services. No doubt Deloitte could suggest some. Planning and housing services are obvious areas. But the point is that to achieve this Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster would need to agree.

For Hammersmith and Fulham to unilaterally decide to extend Tri-borough arrangements misses the point.

The Critical Friends Board is an expensive, ill-defined, gimmick.



Slaughter’s false claims of rising crime

Last year I listed some of the dishonest claims of the Labour MP for Hammersmith Andrew Slaughter. They continue to come at a steady rate – often they are about Charing Cross Hospital – Mr Slaughter was confronted over some of them last week by the Hammersmith Conservatives Chairman Peter Graham in an interview on London Live.

There have also been some misleading claims from Mr Slaughter regarding crime. Last month he claimed:

“My constituents feel less safe. Anti social behaviour and crime are actually going up in areas such as Shepherd’s Bush and White City.”

It is difficult to see any factual basis in such claims.

There is now a vast amount of information available due to crime mapping.

Crime has gone down by 25 per cent in Hammersmith and Fulham since 2006 and borough confidence in the Met is very high. More than 70 per cent of residents think that the local police are doing a good or excellent job. Londoners feel safer based on the polling evidence.

A recent leader(£) in The Times reflected on stark differences between positive downward crime figures for London versus the rest of the country pointing to urgent lessons for regional police forces.

It said:

“Two years ago Boris Johnson’s deputy mayor for crime and policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, set the Met a challenge to cut “key neighbourhood
crimes” by 20 per cent, cut costs by 20 per cent and boost public confidence in the force by 20 per cent, all by 2016. It is too soon to know if any of these targets will be met, but not too soon to conclude that the challenge has given the country’s largest police force a useful set of over-arching priorities. In the meantime, certain specific goals have been achieved. More than £100 million has been realised from the sale of under-used police property, and some at least of this has gone towards putting 1,000 more officers on the beat while trimming the Met’s overall budget by £500 million a year.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met commissioner, has also ordered high-profile swoops on gangs in a drive to cut knife crime, which fell
in London by 11 per cent last year. The fall in robberies with knives was almost twice as steep.”

shepherdsbushpolA look at the detailed historic stats  indicates that the trend of falling crime includes Shepherd’s Bush along with the rest of Hammersmith and Fulham.

For example Wormholt and White City Ward had 1,172 crimes in 2010/11. For 2013/14 it was 933. Nor does there seem to be any indication in the latest figures of it getting worse. In June there were 111 crimes in Wormholt and White City Ward – that compares with 122 in May and 118 in June last year. The annual trend is, in any case, more significant.

In Shepherd’s Bush Green Ward there were 3,938 crimes in 2010/11. For 2013/14 it was 3,355. In June there were 355 – compared to 410 in May. (The ward includes the Westfield shopping centre and thus any crime that takes place there.)

In Askew Ward there were 1,275 crimes in 2010/11.  For 2013/14 it was 1,013. There was a slight increase in June – up to 154 from 140.

For Ravenscourt Park, my own ward, the figure was 1,213 in 2009/10. In 2013/14 it was exactly a thousand. In June there was fall in crime from the previous month – down from 121 to 106. The ward is generally regarded as being in Hammersmith rather than Shepherd’s Bush – although the northern bit of it includes some streets off the Askew Road.

Across the whole of Hammersmith and Fulham there were 24,175 crimes in 2010/11. In 2013/14 it was 18,960. That trend has applied in Shepherd’s Bush as in the rest of our borough

Now there is certainly nothing inevitable about the trend continuing. But it is unfair on the police to deny the progress that has been made. It is also damaging to promote fear of crime. Some regard fear of crime as damaging to mental health. I certainly inhibits people’s quality of life if they are scared to venture out of their homes.

So let’s not be complacent. Let’s constantly work to achieve a reduction in crime. But let’s us not scare people by claiming that crime is increasing when in recent years it has fallen sharply and there is no clear evidence to show any reverse to that enormously welcome trend.