The council that’s blown its youth service savings on three executive pay-offs

6 09 2010

News in from Children and Young People Now that Sheffield Council has spent most of the £700k it is cutting from youth services on pay-offs to three senior council officials.

The council has spent nearly £670k on redundancy pay-offs to three assistant chief executives, just as compulsory redundancy notices go out to 50 Connexions staff, all of whom will receive the statutory minimum – capped at £11,400.

The three senior executives who received bumper payouts are:

  • Liz Bashforth – assistant chief executive for legal and governance – £331,867
  • Ken Green – assistant chief executive for organisational development and communications – £200k
  • Ron Barraclough – assistant chief executive for policy and performance – £125k

Unison regional officer Kevin Osborne told CYPN: “There is clearly a policy of ‘us and them’ at the city council. At a time when public sector workers are having their wages frozen and facing redundancies, these payments are unacceptable.”

Unison is currently balloting its members for industrial action over the job cuts at the Liberal Democrat-controlled council.

As commentary, I don’t think anyone’s arguing that if there are to be cutbacks, highly paid senior managers should be well ahead of frontline staff in the firing line for redundancy.

What I don’t know is whether the terms of the three executives’ contracts meant that the council was legally obliged to pay them £670k.

If the council was obliged to make these payments under the contracts, then they clearly agreed to some pretty daft contracts for senior management. If the council wasn’t obliged, then it is showering these executives with extraordinary largesse, regardless of how competent they were in their roles.

Either way, it’s a mess.

UPDATE: bgb in the comments has informed me that the council was Labour-run at the time these executives’ contracts were agreed, and that the payouts were contractual obligations. Therefore it would appear that the previous Labour council leadership should shoulder most of the blame over the size of the payouts.

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5 responses

6 09 2010
bgb

“If the council was obliged to make these payments under the contracts, then they clearly agreed to some pretty daft contracts for senior management. If the council wasn’t obliged, then it is showering these executives with extraordinary largesse, regardless of how competent they were in their roles.”

These were contractual obligations negotiated by the previous Labour administration, not the fault of the Liberal Democrats as you seem to be implying.

(http://www.thestar.co.uk/headlines/Huge-payoffs-rap-for-council.6485396.jp)

6 09 2010
athousandcuts

bgb

I mentioned it was a Lib Dem-controlled council because that’s what it is at the moment – I wasn’t sure who controlled it at the time these contracts were agreed, so I didn’t point the finger at any party specifically for that. Thanks for clarifying that it the contracts were signed under Labour. Having read the link you’ve posted, which mentions the row between the Lib Dems and Labour over the pay-offs, I have to say that it sounds like Labour is at fault here rather than the Lib Dems.

6 09 2010
bgb

Well thank really goes to my fellow commentards on the Liberal Conspiracy post of this article. I’ve just commented it back to your original article. 🙂

6 09 2010
athousandcuts

Liberal Conspiracy’s published this?

Oh boy, it’s troll ‘o’ clock…

16 09 2010
citizenr

Just spotted this post. I’ve heard of daft pay offs but that’s impressive. I will now quote this in my own redundancy pay-off negotiations. I have a nasty feeling that my own pay-off it will be more like the poor Connexions PAs though.
http://citizenr.wordpress.com

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