Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:18 pm
A former chief finance officer left with almost half a million pounds
Payouts for departing Coventry council staff has cost taxpayers £46.8 million in the past eight years – with one senior manager handed almost half a million pounds.
An investigation by the Local Democracy Reporting Service found 2,116 exit packages have been given since 2011/12, with top bosses receiving 62 six-figure payments.
The highest saw a former chief finance officer given a £448,230 early retirement package after redundancy, pushed to £586,335 when added to their annual pension and salary.
A spokesman for Coventry City Council said most exit packages at the authority result from redundancies and pension payments, while it “seeks to minimise” costs outside this bracket.
Councils across the country are now under pressure to cap payments at £95,000 to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.
But Coventry council did not respond to a national consultation on the plans, which closed in July.
When it opened in April, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss branded “unacceptably large payout-outs for senior managers” as “clearly wrong”.
And the scale of exit packages in Coventry – and the council’s failure to take part in a consultation – has also been criticised by Coventry Conservatives.
Speaking on the findings, group leader Cllr Gary Ridley said: “Local authorities have had to make tough decisions about spending in the aftermath of Labour’s great recession.
“So it’s disappointing that Coventry has failed to take part in a consultation about exit packages which have become sizeable in recent years.
“Although, to an extent, each payout needs to be judged by its merits there have been examples of enormous waste over recent years.”
Cllr Ridley added: “The use of so called ‘gagging orders’ paid out to employees leaving the council has totalled around £330,000 in just three years and their use appears to be growing.
“We’re pleased that the government is looking seriously at these payments as part of their plans to reform exit packages in the public sector.”
Also included in the proposed cap would be redundancy payments, settlements, ex-gratia payments, payment on voluntary exits, and payments after contract termination or loss of office, although pension earned through years of service or any accrued pension rights will not be included.
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:40 pm
Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:49 pm
Staff send-offs at Coventry council to reduce after £46m expense
Funding for costly staff send-offs at Coventry City Council is to be cut - but only after shelling out a staggering £46.8 million in just eight years.
Coventry City Council currently budgets £2.5m each year for exit costs, which primarily covers the costs of redundancy and ‘early retirement’ pay-offs.
But as part of its budget plans for 2020/21, it is now planning to shave £1.5m off the annual budget to help plug a £16.7m funding gap.
Exit packages have cost a hefty £46.8m at Coventry City Council in the eight years since 2011/12, an investigation by the Local Democracy Reporting Service found last year.
That led to criticism from Conservative opposition leader Cllr Gary Ridley, who branded some of the payouts as an “enormous waste”.
Now cabinet member for finance Cllr John Mutton is planning to tighten the purse strings as the authority looks to make savings.
“Over the last few years we have had to make a lot of redundancies to staff,” he said.
“As part of the budget we have been putting in £2.5m each year into a pot to pay for those redundancies and early retirement.
“We are in a different ball game now and if any more staff go we probably wouldn’t have the members of staff needed to provide services.
“Instead we are putting £1m into that pot which released the other £1.5m to use for other expenditure items.
“It is a sensible move otherwise that pot just builds up.
“I can’t see us making many if any further redundancies or early retirement.”