Happiest borough Bexley to join Havering and Newham merger
16:47 21 January 2016
London’s happiest borough is set to become a third partner in the existing back-office merger between Havering and Newham councils.
Financial services will be shared with Bexley in a deal expected to save the town hall £295,000 and oneSource £660,000 over the next two years.
It came about last spring, when the south-east London borough approached bosses about the possibility of joint working.
After months of looking into the project, the council has now proposed going through with it.
Bexley was this week voted the happiest borough in the capital, based on what people have been tweeting about. Havering came 11th in the list.
The Independent Residents’ Group, which campaigned against the merger with Newham before and after it took place, is more supportive of working with Bexley.
Cllr David Durant said it made much more sense.
“I’m not against joint-working in principle,” he said. “Bexley is next door to us and is a lot more like Havering.
“I’m not saying it’s a good idea but it’s preferable to Newham.”
He also said it would be difficult to place Havering in a super-borough with other east London boroughs as a result of working with Bexley.
“Why would we want to form a super-borough with east London when we have gone down south and formed our own?”
The sharing of other back office services such as legal, human resources and IT is also being explored.
Havering and Bexley could also share policy and democratic services in future, which would exclude Newham.
OneSource is expected to save Havering £3.9million by 2018 and £10m across the board by the following year. In October £7m savings had been made since the launch in 2014, £898,000 behind the target. That has since reduced to £569,000 off the initial projections.
Cabinet members will vote on plans next month.