13th Mar 2012

Philippa Roe elected as Leader of Westminster City Council

After a particularly tough leadership race, last week Philippa Roe was announced as the new Leader of Westminster City Council. Previously a director at Citigroup she is the Council’s eleventh leader, and second female leader. 

In her inaugural speech to full council she set out her aims – from clean streets and low tax, to the establishment of a new Work and Skills Board to train youth for employment. She has a clear vision for the role, and hopes which she outlined in simple terms, noting “I am committed to making Westminster a better city. A place where we create new opportunities for young and old alike to lead better lives, using the history, imagination, and lessons of Westminster’s past and present to serve as inspiration for our future.”

Tactfully acknowledging her predecessor, she commended Colin Barrow and his leadership during the most challenging economic times since the Council was created 65 years ago.

Roe is taking the helm after somewhat of a storm – in January, following heated debate and widespread opposition the Council scrapped its proposal for new weekend and night parking charges in the West End. The scheme was supported by Barrow but was universally unpopular to its residents, workers and businesses. According to the Financial Times Roe conceded that the council had not listened “as much as we could to the broader interests” of the borough. She has vowed to re-build bridges with the Westminster community.

This will be just one of the challenges Roe faces during her time as leader of the Council. At First100, we advise newly appointed leaders to start with the end in mind. For Roe to stay on track in achieving her aims it is imperative that she stays focused on her strategic priorities. The best way to stay focused and make an impact early is with the help of a detailed First 100 Days Plan. The plan should outline the desired outcomes by the end of the first 100 days. To avoid derailment from the plan, it should be structured using monthly milestones @ 30 days, @ 60 days, and @ 90 days. And at these intervals progress should be rigorously reviewed.

Philippa Roe is no doubt facing into a challenging first 100 days as leader of Westminster City Council. And we will be watching her progress with great interest.

Hilda Goold



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