Greenwich Council has admitted it has no idea how much it’s costing to become a royal borough, yet is in the process of implementing £15m of additional service cuts over the next three years.
The discovery came after Lib Dem campaigner, John Russell, challenged Greenwich
Council with a Freedom of Information request asking about costs.
John commented, “I am pleased that Greenwich is a royal borough. It is a well deserved honour. However to rebrand the borough now, at a time of cutbacks and without any idea of how much it’s going to cost, shows that Labour are still not behaving responsibly with the public’s money.”
The Labour-run Council has already spent thousands of pounds on new street signs around the borough, with more to come. It is possible the Council will be spending
thousands on rebranding Council vehicles and other signage, not to mention countless
forms and printed stationery.
Labour councillors voted through the move at a meeting in July last year, with no public discussion on how much it was going to cost.
The Council initially claimed that they would only replace street signs where the sign needed replacing. However, it’s now becoming clear that many signs being replaced were actually in good condition.
The Freedom of Information Request can be found here:
1. What the estimated costs are to the council and local taxpayers to change the council’s web site, logos, signage, street signs and all other associated official insignia to convey the fact thatGreenwich is now a Royal Borough?
The Council has not made an estimate of these costs. The approach will be to replace signage as part of the normal maintenance programme. The Council will acquire a new Royal Borough Crest which will be drawn by the Royal College of Arms. The final cost of this is not yet known.
2. What is the time line for making the necessary changes and what are the cost implications and planned actions by year?
It is expected that Greenwich will receive Royal Borough Status on 3rd January 2012, subject to the Lord Chancellor being present in the country as is the customary requirement. A plan for future events is not yet finalised or costed.
3. What information was give to councillors in their official capacity as decision makers as to the associated likely cost implications of their decision prior to the full council meeting and other associated meetings that took place and were involved in the decision making process?
The decision made by full Council on 27th July 2011 is available on the Council’s website. The decision related only to the change of name, which has no direct cost.
4. What consideration was given to trying to limit the effects that this additional revenue will have on already limited council budgets?
The Council’s approach will be based on changing names and branding as part of the renewal programme for stocks or planned maintenance so that additional costs are not incurred.
There will be a small cost associated with acquiring the new Royal Crest and for a prudent level of celebration to mark the event. Estimates are not yet available.