London tri-borough chiefs step down

23 Apr 13
Derek Myers, the first joint chief executive of two unitary councils, is to step down from his post, it was announced today.

By Vivienne Russell | 23 April 2013

Derek Myers, the first joint chief executive of two unitary councils, is to step down from his post, it was announced today.

Myers has been chief executive at the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea since 2000 and in 2011 also took on the job at neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham. His dual role was part of the tri-borough project, radical plans by three adjacent London councils to share services and slash management costs.

The news broke as Mike More, chief executive of Westminster City Council, the third member of the tri-borough project, announced that he would retire at the end of 2013.

Announcing his decision to step aside, Myers said: ‘I have had the best job in local government for 13 years and a total of 16 years as a London chief executive and it seems right to get out of the way and let someone else have a go. In time, I hope to use some of what I have learned in other places.’

Paying tribute to Myers’ record, Kensington & Chelsea council leader Sir Merrick Cockell, who is also stepping down, said: ‘Under the guiding hand of Derek Myers, Kensington & Chelsea has been one of the best performing councils in the country according to both the Audit Commission and Ofsted. Most importantly, the council has consistently achieved the highest resident satisfaction ratings in London.

‘You simply don’t get our level of performance, over so many years, without a first-rate chief executive.’

Nicholas Botterill, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham, added his own tribute, saying: ‘Derek has devoted his life to public service and has been a major force in the tri-borough plans to improve the lives of residents by sharing best practice and reducing duplication and waste.’

As well as serving as chief executive of the two boroughs, Myers chaired the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers for four years until autumn 2012.

Before joining Kensington & Chelsea, Myers was chief executive of the London Borough of Hounslow and, before that, its director of social services.

At Westminster, More said leading the city council had been the toughest and most rewarding role of his career. ‘With the help of a hugely talented team, we have been able to set Westminster City Council on a course as one of the most progressive authorities in the country, despite a background of unprecedented financial hardship and uncertainty.'

Commenting on More’s decision, Westminster leader Philippa Roe said: ‘His strategic vision has helped us to negotiate a uniquely challenging period in the public sector, and Mike leaves us with a bold vision for the future in place and a solid financial setting.’

More joined Westminster from Suffolk County Council in 2008 where he had been chief executive since 2002. He began his local government career at Cambridgeshire County Council, where he held a variety of posts, including head of finance.

Public Finance interviewed Derek Myers shortly after he took on the dual role in 2011. The interview can be read here.


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