Brent Council’s outgoing chief executive writes a farewell letter to his employees

Contents of final blog by Gareth Daniel is leaked to the Times

The borough’s outgoing chief executive has written a farewell blog on the council’s intranet which has been leaked to the Times.

Gareth Daniel will leave his �203,342-a-year post by the end of the month following a break down in relations with Cllr Muhammed Butt, the leader of the council.

In his farewell letter, Mr Daniel, who has held the post for 14 years making him one of the longest serving chief executives in the country, says: “As some of you may already know, I will shortly be leaving Brent Council after 26 years with the organisation and 14 years as Chief Executive.

“I have agreed with the political leadership to move on but I do so with great sadness. I have always been hugely loyal to Brent Council and leaving will not be easy. I hope to announce details of a leaving party in the near future to which you are all warmly invited.

“I was appointed Chief Executive in September 1998 and I think it is fair to say that the organisation has moved on a lot in the following years.

“I have been ably supported throughout by an immensely able, dedicated and diverse staff group with whom it has been a privilege to work. I am so utterly proud of your professionalism and your passion for the borough - any successes I may have achieved are down to you more than me.

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“When I was appointed, I was determined to improve Brent’s public and professional reputation and to erase those awful memories of Brent as a place where dodgy deals and poor practice were the order of the day. I believe we have made considerable progress in both areas although we must never be complacent.

“I like to think I have a strong sense of right and wrong and I have tried to place integrity at the centre of everything we do. We have made real progress in many areas and I believe that Brent is a more honest and upright institution now that it was when I started. I believe that personal integrity is the foundation for good governance and without it everything else is lost.

“We have made real progress in every service area thanks to the skills of our workforce and I want to thank each of you for your contribution. We secured our highest ever public satisfaction rating on my watch and our transformational One Council Programme is winning us a national reputation as well as saving us millions of pounds. Everyone associated with the programme should feel proud of their work.

“It has been brilliant to see the regeneration taking place in whole areas of Brent during my time - Stonebridge, Chalkhill, South Kilburn, Roundwood, Barham and of course at Wembley where we have a brand new National Stadium and where we will shortly be opening our new Civic Centre. It is a matter of considerable personal regret that I will not be around to see it open.

“Brent is widely seen as a trusted and reliable partner to work with and we are an active player in West London and London-wide networks. I am proud of the progress made by the West London Alliance (WLA) where I have been a consistent advocate of stronger sub-regional working.

“Our work with the NHS, with the police and with private sector partners has also been very rewarding despite occasional challenges.

I have always believed in self-confident local government that fights its corner and stands up for its people and communities. While I am a huge enthusiast for partnership working, I have always been willing to have a scrap with anyone if it is needed to defend the borough’s interests. After all, isn’t that what a Chief Executive is for?

“Many of you will have heard my mantra about making Brent a modern, ambitious, professional and outward-looking organisation and I have held on to this goal as my personal mission statement. I have always resisted the temptation to indulge in constant unsettling re-organisations.

“Structures do matter but they are not as important as leadership, culture and motivation in producing good results for local people.

Despite the occasional ups and downs, I have mostly had a great time over more than two decades working with Brent and I know there are very many colleagues who share my determination to keep us moving forward.

“There are plenty of challenges ahead but we have always risen to challenges in Brent and we will continue to do so. “Good luck to each and everyone of you.”

Fiona Ledden, the council’s director of legal procurement, will temporarily step into Mr Daniel’s post until an external interim Chief Executive is found.