Councils told to vote on ‘golden goodbye’ payments

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:47 21 February 2013

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Local authorities have been told that ‘golden goodbye’ pay-offs given to senior officials should be approved with a full council vote.

The measure was set out in guidance published yesterday by local government secretary Eric Pickles, which also tasked councils to have a full vote on hiring officers set to earn above £100,000.

Meanwhile Mr Pickles wrote to all councils telling them that if they did not follow the guidance, he would act to “require” them to do so.

He said: “For too long, local government has made severance pay arrangements away from the eyes of those who get left with the bill; the taxpayer.

“Town hall chief executives are well paid, so if they are not up to the job councils need to part ways with them fairly.

“Quietly agreeing to thousands in under-the-counter parachute pay-offs for departing bureaucrats is not the way to achieve this.”

Mr Pickles said he would also make changes to dismissal and disciplinary proceedings so that authorities no longer had to appoint an independent investigator to review misconduct allegations; something he said had seen pay-offs jump.

He added: “Councils have a responsibility to the public and transparency is at the heart of that. By shining a light on excessive public pay and introducing new democratic checks and balances to senior salaries we are helping councils improve accountability in local government.”

Leader of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council Nick Daubney said: “Generally speaking I would agree with the idea.

“I don’t like to see these big pay-offs either and I think colleagues and the public want to be, and should be, aware of what’s happening to public money.”

There was controversy at cash-strapped Great Yarmouth Borough Council last year when it emerged the authority’s managing director Richard Packham was offered a six-figure severance payment.

Leader of the council Trevor Wainwright said: “I would have no problem with what the secretary of state is suggesting; when we carried out our restructuring most of it went to the full council.

“Anything that makes councils more transparent can only be a good thing and if a decision like that is taken by the full council that’s good.

“I guess with the banks like RBS in public ownership we might also perhaps have ministers taking decisions on whether bankers bonuses and pay-outs should be approved.”


  • Fat (geddit?) chance of that making any difference in Norfolk. With the huge majority that the Tories have on the County and the iron fist in an iron glove influence that the Cabinet has over the rest of the mutely subservient nobodies. that make up the Tory Group you can be sure that the cabinet will do exactly what they want and the minnows will vote exactly as they are told because they are all too frightened to lose their money.

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    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • Expect an imminent u-trun once Piggles thinks this through properly. Can't have the dirty washing coming before full council. That's the reason for having such matters agreed by secretive cliques behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms, etc etc.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • This fits the Govt's agenda to throw the spotlight on the public sector and keep people thinking that controlling public spending is the key to the economic mess. Bankers and heads of financial institutions in the City have been richly rewarded for failure and I don't hear Mr Pickles calling for them to be held to public account.

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    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • No employer can disregard their contractual obligations particularly given the length of local government service.These contractual obligations include recognition of the LGPS and terms and conditions of employment including rights to redundancy payments.Eric Pickles needs to be very careful he is not encouraging local authorities to be in breach of his own regulations.I believe it is known as being hoisted with your own petard.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

  • It's a start, now Mr Pickels how about doing the same to MPs. They should be subject to the same rules as those lower down along with the second homes allowance. I f I got a job in London Iwould have to pay for my accomodation while Iwas there, sop can MPs!

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    Thursday, February 21, 2013

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