100,000-plus pay-offs for 135 council officials: MP blasts 'eye-watering' golden handshakesCouncils have spent between 100,000 and 420,000 to 135 staff
Many have started other lucrative public sector jobs since leavingMinister says pay-offs show 'a lack of respect' to taxpayers
02:08 GMT, 2 January 2013
02:48 GMT, 2 January 2013
Councils have given six-figure ‘golden goodbyes’ to more than 100 officials in the past year.
Despite town halls complaining about funding cuts, they gave compensation packages of between 100,000 and 420,000 to some 135 members of staff for leaving their jobs.
Many of the workers have since taken up high-paid jobs elsewhere in the public sector, including positions in Whitehall.
Local government minister Brandon Lewis last night accused the councils of showing a ‘lack of respect’ to taxpayers by agreeing to the ‘eye-watering sums’.
Pay-off: Katherine Kerswell, the former chief of Kent County Council, left the authority with 420,000 after just 20 months. Local government minister Brandon Lewis last night accused the councils of showing a ‘lack of respect’ to taxpayers by agreeing to the ‘eye-watering sums
At Birmingham City Council, 27 staff received golden goodbyes of between 100,000 and 150,000.
Newcastle City Council gave six-figure pay-offs to 12 staff, while Gateshead handed out nine.
South Gloucestershire made eight pay-offs to staff and Middlesbrough made five.
At Fenland Council in Cambridgeshire – which is one of the country’s smallest councils with only 95,000 residents – the chief executive received a 370,400 pay-off when he took early retirement.
Local authority accounts show that the pay-offs to 135 officials come after lucrative compensation packages the previous year, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The biggest pay-off was at Kent Council, where managing director Katherine Kerswell received a 420,000 sum after less than 20 months in the job, on top of her 139,806 salary and 29,359 pension contributions.
After leaving her job, she became the Cabinet Office’s director of civil service reform on a salary of 142,000 a year.
The council also paid its former corporate director, Lynda McMullan, 172,000 in compensation. She has since joined the National Audit Office as assistant auditor general.
As well as the 420,000 paid to Katherine Kerswell, Kent Council council also paid its former corporate director, Lynda McMullan, 172,000 in compensation
Mr Lewis said: ‘I fail to see any credible business case for such eye-watering sums being shelled out which in some cases would make a Premiership manager blush.
‘Dishing out such huge amounts of cash without a second thought shows a lack of respect for the public purse and good councils want help to end this.
‘These pay-offs are a legacy of Labour’s golden goodbye gravy train which we are putting a stop to.’
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘To help manage government funding cuts, councils have reduced significantly the number of senior staff and middle managers.
‘Last financial year they cut 1.4billion from the local government pay bill, with 90 per cent of local authorities reducing senior management costs in the process.
Cash: Birmingham City Council paid 27 staff between 100,000 and 150,000 when they left
'This has led to a small spike in one-off redundancy payments, which is mostly responsible for the increase in the number of officers receiving more than 100,000.’
Dorset County Council paid a total of 1.03million to seven employees, whose pay-offs ranged from 100,000 to 242,000.
Barnet Borough Council has paid almost 1million to six executives over the past two years.
Brian Reynolds, the former director of environment and development, was given a 280,485 pay-off on top of his 107,000 salary and pension payments.
Since leaving his post he has formed a consultancy and runs a scheme that is supposed to make councils more efficient.