Making plans for Robin

26 Jun

Scene: the mayor’s office in Building 1000. Sir Robin Wales is meeting representatives from ‘executive recruitment consultants’ Moneyfore Olderope & Co.

Date: sometime in the distant future

Sir Robin: Thanks for coming in, guys. We need some help finding someone to chair the board of our private housing rental business Red Door Ventures. People who can give us the independent advice we need so that we make the right choice for our residents. 

Moneyfore:  At Moneyfore Olderope we know that’s what really matters. You can rely on us.

Sir Robin: It’s an important job. Red Door Ventures is owned by the council, but operates as a private business. We’ve used the borrowing power of the council – backed by public money – to build 3,000 new homes and buy 500 others. But we’ve done it in a way that means we aren’t obliged to let any of them to people on the housing waiting list. Most of the homes are let at full market rates which, as you can imagine, puts them out of reach of those kinds of people. But for appearance’s sake – after all, we are supposed to be a Labour council – some of them are rented at what we call ‘affordable’ rates.

Olderope: ‘Affordable’?

Sir Robin: 80% of the market rate. 

Olderope: So they’re still quite expensive then?

Sir Robin: Oh yes, way too much for people who need social housing.

Moneyfore: 3,500 homes at London rents. Even with a few of those [makes air quotes gesture] ‘affordable’ units you have quite a business there. £5 – £6 million a month in revenues?

Sir Robin: In that ballpark.

Olderope: Which is why you need a big name to chair the board. Give it the profile it deserves.

Sir Robin: But not just any big name. We need someone with knowledge of the local area. Someone who knows how to keep the press onside. Someone the councillors on the board can look up to and respect, who can provide the leadership and vision they are used to.

Moneyfore: So they’d need political as well as business experience.

Sir Robin: Absolutely. And it would be good if you could find a candidate with previous experience as a director on a big public sector delivery project. Like the Olympics, say.

Olderope: [scribbles the word LOCOG on notepad] Go on…

Sir Robin: You know, I always think a title adds a bit of gravitas. A lord, or a Sir. Always looks good on the letterhead.

Moneyfore: Those people are quite hard to find. And they don’t come cheap.

Olderope: Are you thinking this is a full time role, or a day or two a week?

Sir Robin: Part-time. Something that might suit someone who’s recently retired but wants to keep their hand in, so to speak. And earn a little to top up their pension.

Moneyfore: A little?

Sir Robin: We were thinking in the region of £40 – 50,000 a year for a 2 day week.

Olderope: Very reasonable.

Moneyfore: Well, leave it with us Sir Robin. We’ll have a think about possible candidates. Come back to you in a week or so with a list.

They stand up and shake hands.

Sir Robin: Oh, before you go… this isn’t public yet but I’ve decided not to stand for re-election next year. It’s time to wind down a little. But it would be nice to still have a little something…

Moneyfore: … to keep your hand in, so to speak.

Olderope: And top up the pension.

Sir Robin: Exactly. So if you hear of anything suitable…

Moneyfore: Funny you should mention it, but we’ve just received this interesting new brief…

Fade to black

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One Response to “Making plans for Robin”

  1. d June 26, 2014 at 20:42 #

    You have forgotten a bit. No longer able to ship the poor out without problems, answer is to price them out with him at the helm.

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