West London infrastructure groups consider merging as incomes fall

The combined incomes of Voluntary Action Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea Social Council and Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith and Fulham fell by £1m last year

Three local infrastructure bodies in neighbouring west London boroughs have opened talks about a possible merger.

Voluntary Action Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea Social Council and Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith and Fulham are considering forming a single organisation, which would also cover the City of London.

The organisations said in a joint statement: "We believe that we can better support the aspirations of local groups and the communities they serve if we combine our strengths and come together as one organisation."

They have set up a working group to explore the possibilities and promise to involve members and "other stakeholders in our thinking", before taking a final decision in the next few months.

The infrastructure groups had a combined income of £2.1m in 2011/12, down from £3.1m in 2010/11.

The income of Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith and Fulham, which has nine staff, fell by almost half last year, from £725,600 in 2010/11 to £376,800 in 2011/12.

Voluntary Action Westminster has 29 staff and an income of £1.3m, according to its 2011/12 annual report, while Kensington and Chelsea Social Council had an income of £440,200 for the same period.

Peter Okali, chief executive of Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith and Fulham, said he was unable to comment further until more detailed discussions between the organisations had taken place. No one from the other two organisations was available for comment.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Westminster Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea agreed to share services in June 2011 to cut costs and increase efficiency. So far, the councils have combined children’s and adult social services and library services, which the local authorities say is likely to save £7.7m in 2012/13.

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