‘Regime change’ at council as costly consultant leaves

In what could be the first sign of “regime change” at Fisher’s Folly, following Jo Negrini’s departure as chief executive, the lead on something called “Croydon 2023” left the council abruptly last week.

Gone: Amy Wagner. But what did she do?

Amy Wagner was never employed as a staff member, but through her company Wagner Consulting was hired on what is reputed to have been a six-figure annual fee.

There is no mention of her time at Croydon Council on Wagner’s online personal profile, though there were effusive, self-assuring messages on social media from Wagner and her immediate council colleagues at the end of last week.

Calling herself a “digital and agile coach”, Wagner describes her role, “I specialise in coaching teams in Agile and Lean techniques while working to transform and improve delivery across at the entire organisation.”

Or, as one worker who is waiting to learn whether they keep their job at the cash-strapped council said, “The money this lot piss up the wall on shit like this is frightening.”

The Croydon 2023 project was introduced by Negrini and Neil Williams, the council’s head of digital. “The digital services mob have an endless pot of cash for wanky consultants,” was the view of the council source.

Although referencing the year when Croydon is supposed to be London’s Borough of Culture, Croydon 2023 was more about the council’s internal culture, and reorganisation, including something Negrini liked to call her “localities agenda”.

It was emosh: Wagner makes public her departure from Croydon

Stripped of the jargon-laden councilspeak so beloved of Negrini, her localities policy was all about outsourcing even more of the council’s services and reducing ever more the number of council staff working in Fisher’s Folly. It will have seen some staff working from satellite offices located around the borough, some based in libraries or even leisure centres.

As a Katharine Street source said, “It was being rolled out without any public consultation and with little understanding of what the ‘localities’ are, or how they relate to each other. It would have amounted to the council operating from silo offices.

“The jargon and rhetoric was great, but without clear devolution and accountability to ward councillors and residents in these localities, it is crap.”

It may have been just coincidence, but Wagner’s departure came just as Katherine Kerswell was named as the borough’s interim CEO.

“Paid six figures and delivered sweet FA,” the source said of Wagner.

“It looks as if Kerswell has come in swinging.”


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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12 Responses to ‘Regime change’ at council as costly consultant leaves

  1. “pi** up the wall on shit” New one on me. Agile indeed!

    • Ian Ross says:

      It’s not without precedent. Some years ago former colleague was caught short in France and forced to use a Peage toilet. This technique came in handy. Great that Croydon Council has kept it alive.

  2. Some things will cling on (even on walls!), like Tony Newman and his little cabal. If only KK had the power to sack them as well.

    • Sebastian Tillinger says:

      It called a Mayoral election……Newman realises he’ll soon be found out when the electorate demands a three dimensional leader.

      • Colin Cooper says:

        Except we now know that the ‘Strong Leader’ has dismissed any idea of a mayoral election in Croydon, presumably because it would mean that he and his cabal would have to take their collective snouts out of the trough!

  3. John Harvey says:

    For an example of the mechanics of how a council can implode read up on recent events at Spelthorne

  4. You write: “Calling herself a “digital and agile coach”, Wagner describes her role, “I specialise in coaching teams in Agile and Lean techniques while working to transform and improve delivery across at the entire organisation.”

    Or, as one worker who is waiting to learn whether they keep their job at the cash-strapped council said, “The money this lot piss up the wall on shit like this is frightening.”

    WOW….congratulations; this must be the most double entendre laden and mixed metaphor pair of paras ever to make it to Inside Croydon. It certainly mirrors well the madness abroad in the top layers of Bernard Weatherill (ridiculously expensive) Towers.

    • The whole ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ thing has been a staple of the consultants for years. I know! Yes, it sounds like bs, but your average council employee will never change his working methods and local authority mind-set

  5. Nothing wrong with Council workers. Its all these clever dicks they ship in at enormous salaries.

  6. KIM says:

    The mis spent of cash at Croydon council beggars belief.

  7. Marie Jones says:

    Council staff are sick of seeing the money that is thrown away while they are put under increased pressure to get work done with less staff. Why are there still these type of consulting firms employed? What benefit do they bring? How the hell is BxB still allowed to continue?

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