Nov 05 2014

It’s Official – Lockwood Returns to Harrow Council on £25k more than Prime Minister

Michael Lockwood_ 150px x 208pxMichael Lockwood is being recommended to become the new Chief Executive of Harrow Council with a mission to build partnerships with the community, help bring jobs and investment to the region and make the authority more commercially profitable. Mr Lockwood, who served as Harrow Council’s Chief Executive from April 2007, left the authority last year after the CEO role was deleted by the previous administration.
However the new Council elected in May 2014 decided to reinstate the post of CEO after a consultation of nearly 5,000 staff voted 2 to 1 in favour of restoring the role.

Cllr David Perry, leader of Harrow Council, said: “I and many others thought the CEO post was deleted with minimal consultation and a total lack of foresight. In the face of unprecedented cuts of £75m being forced on us, deleting the CEO role inflicted needless turbulence on the organisation. We are now righting that wrong. After an open recruitment process with some very strong candidates, we are very pleased that Michael has accepted our offer to return to Harrow. It was clear to us that he has the right experience to take Harrow forward and commands the respect of our employees. Michael demonstrated at interview that he has the drive to take forward our vision of an administration with engagement and consultation at its heart and ambitious plans to regenerate the borough. We are bidding for investment money of £40m; we need a respected and experienced figure to lead that process. I would like to thank Paul Najsarek who, as interim head of paid service, has led the management team through a difficult period.”

Paul Najsarek will remain as interim head of paid service until the new Chief Executive starts. He will then return to his position as Corporate Director for Community, Health and Wellbeing.

Mr Lockwood was interviewed by Harrow Council’s chief officer employment panel (COEP) and his appointment is being recommended to the full council meeting on November 13th. Terms and conditions are being discussed and will be publicised in due course. Currently the Local Government Association’s director of policy and finance, a start date for Mr Lockwood will be announced in due course.

Michael Lockwood said: “It is once again a privilege to be asked to lead Harrow Council’s senior team. Harrow’s staff have always been a unique strength to the borough and I will be calling on their expertise and support in facing a new set of challenges. Harrow needs to maintain its reputation for providing excellent services in partnership with the community in the face of unprecedented financial pressures and the tough decisions that stem from that. My three priorities are to work with our key partners as we face these budget challenges; to market Harrow Council’s expertise across the country and secure new investment. I again look forward to working with Harrow Council’s outstanding staff and members and building Harrow’s reputation as a leading authority.”

Cllr. Susan Hall, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “There’s a tragic irony in this being announced the day Cllr. Perry met with voluntary organisations to justify why he’s likely going to cut their funding. By restoring this position, Labour are now going to pay someone over £25,000 more than the Prime Minister to tell them what to do, while proposing to close the Arts Centre, Harrow Museum, and several Children’s Centres – as well as planning cuts to the money for our parks, for cleaning our streets and for looking after the elderly and disabled. It is scandalously wrong, and now Labour have got what they want it’s Harrow residents who will unfortunately pay the price.”

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    Quote from Mystic meg.

    November 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm (UTC 0)

    “On No!!! Please let this be a joke! He was paid off a bit fat sum to leave and if he comes back, I want to know if he will return the money we, the taxpayer paid to get rid of him in the first place? Old boy network? You bet!”

    I agree with Mystic Meg. Does anyone know if the severance money will be repaid at least in part?

    The administration are spending money like it is going out of fashion and then bleating about cuts. Residents’ council taxes will now have to fund the chief executive’s salary plus the 3 million on PR that is going to be spent to improve Labour’ s image.

    Meanwhile there are to be cuts to local organisations which are for the most part run by volunteers. Why don’t councillors take a cut in their expenses? Also if leader Dave works only two days then he should only be paid for two days, Perhaps he should consider volunteering and his salary could fund one of the groups that are either going to be closed or suffer a cut in funding.

    Meg it is no joke Harrow’s residents will not be laughing especially when we receive our Council tax demand in April 2015.

  2. mike mcfadden

    Oh dear back to the future it never works out well. An organization should never go backwards. Lockwood in my view was no good for Harrow with the proliferation of houses of multiple occupation and beds in sheds that lead to Harrow looking like parts of Mogadishu with rubbish strewn all over our streets and pavements. I still don’t know who was responsible for taking in failed asylum seekers and lost children and who’s paying? The putting up of signs in foreign languages was an insult to the people of England and an affront to our Englishness and culture. The Loony-Left should think again and remember they are in England.

  3. sonoo malkani

    Since the new administration have made the decision that they wish us to have a Chief Executive to lead us through the challenging £75m cuts over the next three years,I am very pleased we have selected Mike Lockwood for the job.He delivered some excellent works during his previous years and is very popular with the staff—-emotional intelligence makes for successful working.

    I expect many of you may choose to howl at me but I have no political axe to grind and am stating what I have observed and personally felt over the years as a veteran volunteer in many sectors in Harrow.I have very broad shoulders and am stating it as it is.No hidden agenda.

    He has saved millions for us in the past and has now taken upon himself additional responsibility from what has been said by him in the article above ie TO HAVE A THREE-PRONGED STRATEGY to WORK WITH KEY PARTNERS,MARKET HARROW NATION-WIDE,AND ALSO SECURE NEW INVESTMENTS INTO HARROW, BEING A REGENERATION AREA..High time we did this!Let’s give him the opportunity to achieve these goals.

    He has extensive experience and good contacts.I am only basing this on his track record.He is a much respected figure,helpful at all times and very approachable.He holds volunteers in high esteem.That counts for a lot when many are dismissive and patronise volunteers.

    Since we are bidding for the large sum of £40m, for investment,as a tried and trusted hand Mike probably has the best chance of securing this funding.for Harrow.Better than a total stranger who would spend a year or more just getting acclamitised to Harrow Council,its staff and working procedures and leave us in limbo,costing us a real fortune!.He will help rationalise the staffing levels in the Local Authority.

    Like Concerned Harrovian one wonders about the expense incurred by the previous administration when they dispensed of his services,at the cost of tax-payers.I am totally stumped why Harrow Council needs £3m to spend on PR and image building!!.That is such a blunder!

    How can they afford to throw such a large sum of money around on publicity,which can be done very effectively at a fraction of that amount—especially when we’re so cash-strapped and are planning swinging cuts on core services to our residents and local public.We could advise them how to do this for no charge!

    Harrovians will not be amused by this extravagant spend which will be viewed as particularly frivolous—especially when the Local Authority has the nerve to consider cuts to VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS doing sterling work ,without which our communities would be left stranded and totally bereft—eg HARROW CARERS,AGE UK,MENCAP and other such wonderful groups.They are the back-bone of our community and do not deserve to be penalised for the blunders made by others.We must raise our voices jointly and step in to stop this injustice being perpetrated..

    In fact,priceless resources such as the HARROW ARTS CENTRE and HARROW MUSEUM which have been ear-marked for closure must be saved.The former is unique and could be more imaginatively used and hired to bring in funds and the latter,a Grade 2 listed building also effectively packaged and marketed could become a venue for weddings,community events etc.It already has attracted Lottery funding and is a HERITAGE site.

    We must look for LONG-TERM,SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS such as sponsorships and think creatively about saving such unique places which have made us the envy of so many.The new Chief Executive will more than likely be able to guide us how to get there.

    In the consultation which ends this week-end we have been asked if we would favour up to 2% Council tax increase.I cannot help but think most people will not be pleased to do that—- since they will still be hit with cuts which can impact the community adversely,in particular VULNERABLE GROUPS such as CARERS,ELDERS AND the DISABLED.Not the spirit one wishes to encounter as we look forward to the SEASON OF GOODWILL.Many are already feeling insecure and are losing confidence in their Council.


    Most of us do not realise this fact and are labouring under the impression that HARROW WILL NOT SUFFER THESE CUTS if ANOTHER government,(not the present one) IS FORMED.next May.Baloney!WAKE UP,Harrovians.This is the reality.

    I had this confirmed only yesterday and was gob-smacked to hear it.Many have been fooled into thinking that this has been imposed on us by a Tory Government.

    If this is not true WOULD SOMEBODY FROM HARROW COUNCIL PLEASE OPENLY AND DEFINITIVELY STATE THIS. We are not happy to be kept in the dark about such important issues which impact so deeply on our citizens on a day-to-day basis.

    I believe the feed-back on the consultation will be given to a FULL CABINET MEETING “some time in December”.They will make the FINAL DECISION where the axe should fall.I suggest many of us attend that meeting to see who is responsible for recommending the cuts and the ones being supported or ditched.This will be our CHRISTMAS PRESENT.These will be implemented,I am told ,in March 2015,just before the new fiscal year starts.

    One other small matter.I believe it’s unrealistic and unfair to blame all the “beds in sheds” and other non-sense on Mike Lockwood.There are loads of Councillors,portfolio holders,Council officials and partners who could have flagged that up!Anyone could have posted it online anonymously if needs be.It’s all water under the bridge!

    It might be more productive if we stopped dissecting people under a microscope and allowed the ones we have hired to work on our behalf unimpeded,firing on all cylinders,as soon as possible,to get our money’s worth.

    Now we must wait for the confirmation, on Nov 13, of Mike Lockwood as the Chief Executive for Harrow Council.Wish him every success for all our sakes.

  4. j p hobbs

    Spot on Susan an absolute disgrace , but that’s Labour as usual , init ? more jobs for the yobs sorry boys ,,,,,,, stet yobs .

  5. Bill Phillips

    Good, it’s taken nearly 6 months for the current administration to effect a major repair to the damage caused by the ILG under Thaya Idaikkadar and the Conservatives under Susan Hall.

    I believe that we are still bearing the cost of the two very expensive consultants that had to be put in place when two senior officers with statutory roles within the authority left the Borough during the 9 months of Susan Hall’s time as leader. If so, then I suspect that the first of Michael’s jobs will be to start the recruitment process that replaces them.

    As I often tell my ex colleagues, 63 people selected through the political process can not run a £500,000,000+ organisation, that is not their job. The role of Councillors is to represent the people of their wards, to scrutinise the work of the council and to be a part of the policy and decision making process with the very expensive experts that the council employs. The arrogance of dictation and the lack of understanding of process appear to be particularly high amongst people that have formed or run a micro or small enterprise. I would urge my friends in the Conservative group to contemplate this point when they next have a chance to elect a new leader. It is important for Harrow that those groups that have aspirations to be elected to power in our council, choose leaders that are up to the job.

    1. MysticMeg

      O.K then Bill. What exactly is David Perry being paid to do in that case? Whichever way you look at it, its jobs for the boys and the old boy network is alive and kicking in Harrow Council.

  6. Marcello Borgese

    This man just cannot take a hint; he must have skin as thick as a rhino’s. He knows the Tories don’t want him here (or rather his job – nothing personal I’m sure) and he has to work with them. He will know better than any other candidate for the job that many people in Harrow do not want a Chief Exec since surely he reads the local press and letters from the public, yet he still took the job. If he’s not interested in local news and people’s views, can he really be the right man for the job?

    So given that he does know what people think and he still took the job, can we really trust someone with such low levels of sensitivity to really care about what is best for us?

    I seem to recall that shortly after he took the job last time he made a fancy video clip saying how he was going to transform Harrow. Seven years on, can anyone really say Harrow is a better place to live in?

    Mr Lockwood, I know you usually don’t engage in dialogue with the common public but please explain to us why you agreed to give up the job (other than for the cash) and why you re-took the job (other than for the cash).

    Also please confirm that if you do not save the council £79m in 4 years (the usual £75m + £1m the cost of employing you + £3m Labour Party PR) you will resign without a pay-off. If you are successful I will be the first to congratulate you as you will have proven that will have been worth the colossal cost of (re)employing you.

    If you do choose the honourable route you needn’t worry – if Labour do win again (heart sinks at thought thereof) then they will just re-employ you.

  7. Susan Hall

    Bill, I’m afraid this major damage you refer to exists only in the minds of the Labour Group, and seemingly those of former Labour Councillors. The Council’s auditors certainly didn’t think the new structure was cause for concern. But of course you have to pretend there was a problem because it both justifies why Labour have brought the role back, and because it fits in with the ridiculous narrative you’re trying to construct about me. Though I made it perfectly clear at the time I felt myself and my Group could operate without a separate Chief Executive, you know full well that all the statutory responsibilities of the Head of Paid Service role were taken on by another senior officer. I am proud of the fact that I was a committed, full-time Leader and that I threw myself into the role, but this idea that I or any other Councillor somehow assumed the mantle and functions of Chief Executive – or thought we, by ourselves, were ‘running’ the place – is total fiction.

    In fact, the closest anyone has come to doing as such as is Cllr Perry by giving himself a portfolio which doesn’t involve overseeing any actual services – instead focusing on corporate leadership and partnership work; often considered functions of a Head of Paid Service or Chief Executive. Also, if you want to throw the ‘dictator’ label around, why not pin it to the Leader who kicked the opposition off Cabinet – not the one who invited them on? And regarding the senior officer positions, I strongly suggest you refrain from commenting on issues you were not privy to and know nothing of the background to.

    As for my Group, I am extraordinarily grateful to them for electing me as Leader for the last 5 years – during which I have outlasted two Labour Leaders. It has been and continues to be an honour and a privilege, and I know that how long I remain Conservative Leader is of course a matter for my Group colleagues. What I also know is that in making that decision, they don’t need the input of a bitter, one-term, ex-councillor from a Group which split in half; who watched as colleagues from his own intake he viewed as inferior were promoted ahead of him, and who in the end was unceremoniously ditched from his ward and relegated to paper candidate status in another.

  8. Gary

    it appears that Susan is concerned over re-introducing a CEO, the same CEO introduced by Chris Mote, a more astute leader of the tory party than Susan, this was based on the fact that he could actually win an election. Additionally the same CEO was retained and had the full support of David Ashton another respected leader within her party. Under Susan’s unelected leadership she introduced a vast amount of agency workers and consultants on highly inflated salaries together with a number of ‘interim’ managers. This extremely costly situation is currently being addressed by the new labour administration. In mitigation,the best comment we could glean from Susan was the supportive comments on this site that the Branch secretary of a well known Harrow Union owned a Porsche GT3- completely untrue and absurd especially on the basis of a name being pulled out of google’s search engine!!
    Is this the same Susan who openly declares to support frontline staff but misleads the residents
    on the salaries that they earn in her declarations to the local media. The same Susan again that increased the cost to ratepayers by demanding that all council vehicles should be painted purple. apart from the initial high cost, This has further increased the cost when repairs are required due to the now specialised ‘artwork’ to the vehicle livery. Finally this is the same ‘cost cutting’ Susan that retained more senior managers outside of a consultation reduction……..

  9. Djm

    Don’t blame Michael for this unholy mess – blame the councillors that, through their incompetence, vast egos and blind party politics, have driven the council into the ground.

    I worked at this godforsaken place for 3 years. Some of the most idiotic councillors I have ever met.

  10. Angelina

    What is even more official is that Harrow is a joke and the laughing stock of London! Have most of you no shame acting like kids and having a pop at each other! Apathy has never been so rife in this borough! We made it to the national newspapers because of Labour and Michael Lockwoods stupid and in my books greedy decision to return, even though the polls showed Harrow residents did not want or need a CEO we are ignored yet again.

    I am so cross and ashamed to live in a borough that has rapidly gone down hill, spends money like water, and has rarely given two hoots about what the residents want….. especially in this case.

    When Mr Lockwood was at the helm before he repeatedly ignored calls for an open surgery therefore you have your answer. A CEO and a Leader of the council who treat us all with contempt!

    Marcello I applaud your comments and agree wholeheartedly.

    Bill Phillips give up. If I am thinking of the same two senior members that you are then they had to go. As Susan Hall says don’t comment on something if you do not have the facts.

    Words mean nothing action means a lot more! I would be happy to take part in a Harrow residents protest outside the civic centre or sign a petition which I have suggested before, but I doubt hardly any of you would take part. Full of hot air!

    One word……..OUTRAGED!

  11. Gary

    Angelina, I can comment on your written comments, it is clearly evident where your political alliances stand, however for completeness approx. £1.5 million to livery council vehicles on the behest of a preferred colour whim. why not ask a poignant question such as, how much above the prime minister is the appointed Head of Paid Service on per year? and what are the key achievements? maybe if you comprehended the workings of the council or any government organisation then you would clearly understand it is the paid officers who direct councillors with proposals, that’s what they get paid for, then equate the take part exercise to ascertain where the proposals to eradicate council services actually come from

  12. Rupika Dave

    And what about the money we, the taxpayers paid him to leave in the first place? Will he be paying that back? No, thought not. He is stilling on a small fortune from us, and is lucky enough to have friends in high places to allow him to be fully employed, on a vast salary again. Well, I look forward to seeing Harrow dragged further into the gutter. I would like to understand how a consultation on the re-instatement of the post of CEO can be seen to be fair when the people paying for the post were not consulted? It really could only happen in Harrow. Our politics are a closed shop and we the peasants are overlooked at every turn. Never mind, when we get our new council tax bills, we will be bleating on an on about that, but, apathy will rule and nothing will be done by the masses. This is why we can be treated so shoddily. The council bank on us to sit on our jacksies and not do anything about it. We truly deserve the Council and the leaders we have.

  13. Angelina

    Gary I suggest you only comment when you know what you are talking about. I have never voted Conservative nor Labour in my life. Politics is one of my stronger subjects and fully understand the workings of the Council and central Government. Maybe you do not understand the difference between voting in a general election as opposed to a local election? Anyhow I will not be drawn into an argument on here as many other people appear to?
    What I will say is that I have been aware for a long time that some of our councillors are merely puppets who do not understand politics, and some of whom are merely yes people who want to further their own agenda and the pay packet that goes with it. Councillors I have dealt with before have been weak and have not followed through with the Council knowing there are mistakes being made.
    You surely jest when you say ask questions and get answers to key achievements from the Council? Have you not read on here the farcical process through the FOI dept in Harrow? Paul Boakes will bring you up to speed on that one!
    I could list on here many things that went wrong under Michael Lockwoods previous tenure, and many millions of pounds that was wasted.
    I will repeat again total APATHY in this borough!

  14. Gary

    Angelina, you state that I do not know what I am talking about however my comments are based on fact not supposition or opinion. if you state that politics is one of your stronger subjects, then you must be fully aware that proposals to reduce services are designed by officers, I must state that you appear to be a happy resident knowing that £1.5 million was spent on purple livery of council vehicles, but seem to be unhappy with the reintroduction of a CEO, who by and main ensures that the council has the structure in place to combine services to reduce the financial impact. the last political debacle ILG and Tory coalition made Harrow a laughing stock, further impacting on the services delivered by Harrow. You finally profess that you could list previous issues and millions of pounds wasted, however it does not appear supported by any corroborative evidence, again more opinions and suppositions. Therefore can you explain what socio-economic impact was prevalent from your last comments regarding millions of pounds wasted???

  15. Marcello Borgese

    Thank you Angelina. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the ‘new-but-old’ Chief Exec must accept very clear targets/objectives and if he doesn’t achieve them it’s ‘sayonara’ without a lottery-size payoff (again).

    Gary, you’ve stated that a Chief Exec can reduce costs. Do you believe ML will achieve savings of £75m+ over 4 years? I don’t believe he, or any Chief Exec, will which is why I don’t want one employed in my borough but I’d love to be proven wrong.

    But of course if Labour’s got anything to do with it he won’t be challenged, he won’t be held accountable and he’ll walk off into the sunset with a whole street’s worth of council tax money. Can’t really blame Mr Lockwood himself, he’s just accepting what’s being offered to him.

    That’s one way of getting someone to vote Labour I suppose.

  16. Angelina

    Gary as I said before I will not be drawn into any arguments and you should not suppose what my thoughts as you are wrong. I bid you good day!

  17. Angelina

    Marcello again you are so right. When mistakes are made and targets not met Council officers are not always held accountable. Normally, depending on the size of the mistake, Officers are quietly seconded out the back door with a pay off. Public sector workers for you I suppose!

  18. Lisa

    Once again i will say it to all who have forgot about it. We the residents were not consulted either way.So we will never really know if a CEO is really wanted or not!!!

  19. sonoo malkani

    Reading through all the comments thus far leaves me feeling heavy-hearted —that a once fairly united community of Harrovians have become so polarised in their stance after the appalling goings on in our Council.This self-induced disease has to be eradicated and unity promoted in the whole community.

    Not only have we made ourselves the talk of the town–for all the wrong reasons–but this weakness has turned us into a VULNERABLE community —whom any Tom,Dick and Harry might wish to exploit.It took us many long years of blood, sweat and tears to get our numerous diverse groups to trust one another and learn to work in UNISON side by side.We have foolishly thrown so much away.

    I very humbly request every single reader to PLEASE put the interests of the whole borough before any personal ones and let us stop saying nasty things to one another.It serves no useful purpose except to further damage the rich fabric of the multi-ethnic diversity we have been so proud of.We need to get back to a place of POLITE,PEACEFUL DIALOGUE which will help us get back to being a close-knit community.

    I am very hopeful that the new Chief Executive will make efforts to get the sniping within the Council to stop and that this will have a knock-on effect on our public.We will have to work very hard to get the bitterness dispelled and create an environment of co-operation which will benefit us all—even with the challenging impending cuts.Only then will we make the progress which I am sure we are all anxious to see..

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