Council spends £1 million on redundancies

November 27 2019
Council spends £1 million on redundancies

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council spent around £1 million on redundancy pay-offs last year – chiefly because of large payments to made three individuals.

The authority made 125 people redundant in 2017/18, at a cost of roughly £1.6m.

Last year, there were only 30 compulsory redundancies, but the £1m cost was down to payouts of between £150,001 and £200,000 each paid to three people in the year to April 2019, the council’s annual report for the year shows.

Another three got between £40,001 and £80,000, while the remaining 24 received up to £40,000.

By contrast, in 2017/18, the highest redundancy payout was in the range £80,001 to £100,000, and went to one person only. Twelve others received £40,001 to £80,000 and the remaining 113 got up to £40,000.

A council spokesman said: “There were a number of redundancies in 2018/19, following reorganisation within the council as part of our ongoing work to improve the value for money as we continue to deliver our priorities and the services people need.

The total costs to the council (described as ‘exit packages’) includes pension costs payable to the pension fund to comply with pension rules.”

Altogether the council forked out almost £1.25m in severance payments in 2018/19, compared with nearly £2.05million the previous financial year.

As well as forced redundancies, exit packages of up to £40,000 for staff who left for other reasons were paid to 15 people last year and 22 the previous year.

The authority paid nearly £900,000 for its six highest paid officers last year, including nearly £60,000 for an agency “interim director” hired for just 17 weeks, the report revealed.

The financial year to April 2019 was a year of churn for the council’s top officials, with two of the most senior officers leaving the organisation and the chief executive announcing her retirement after 14 years in the role.

Altogether the six top official roles cost the council £892,309 in salaries, fees, allowances and pension contributions.

But, with three of the six top jobs each shared by at least two people across the financial year, individual senior officer remuneration paints a complicated picture.

Former chief executive Amanda Deeks received nearly £200,000 altogether, made up of £162,032 in pay and £36,295 in pension contributions.

Dave Perry, who was Ms Deeks’s deputy and the director of corporate resources throughout 2018/19, was paid just over £130,000 and another £29,132 was put in his pension pot.

Mr Perry replaced Ms Deeks as chief executive in May of this year.

The role of the director for environment and community services was held by a total of three people during the financial year, including an interim agency director between two permanent appointees in June and October 2018.

Employing a member of agency staff to plug the 17-week gap cost the council £58,468 – amounting to an additional £27,000 over and above what would have been paid during that period, a council spokesman said.

 

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service