Exit packages from Norfolk County Council total £2.9m

Norfolk County Council headquarters. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council headquarters. Photo: Steve Adams

Exit packages worth £2.9m were paid to more than 250 Norfolk County Council workers who were made redundant last year, new figures have revealed.

In the light of dwindling funding from central government, the council has budgeted to save £289m between 2011/12 and 2016/17, with £178m due to come from making efficiency savings.

And that has led to hundreds of redundancies, with the latest set of the County Hall accounts showing that, in 2015/16, 93 members of staff were made to take compulsory redundancy.

A further 164 took voluntary redundancy, bringing the total who left their posts to 257. The exit packages, which included statutory redundancy pay and pension contributions, totalled £2.96m.

The number of redundancies was slightly higher than the 243 who left the authority over the previous 12 months, although in 2014/15 the exit payment total was bigger - £3.1m.

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Redundancies are seen as an effective way of trimming the wage bill in the long term, but they come with an initial high cost.

Of the 257 made redundant in 2015/16, the majority (212) earned less than £20,000. At the other end of the scale, exit packages totalling £163,000 split between two officers who were earning between £80,001 and £100,000.

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A council spokeswoman said: 'Our severance pay policy does not depend on grade or scale - the same policy applies to all levels. 'If people are made redundant we have statutory and contractual obligations, and statutory redundancy payments are triggered, and in some cases depending on age and pension membership, pensions payments too.'

There were no redundancies last year of any officer earning more than £100,001, but the next financial year's accounts will record the departure of Anne Gibson, the council's executive director of resources.

Her post, with an annual salary of £139,500, has been deleted as part of a review by managing director Dr Wendy Thomson. It made Ms Gibson eligible for a severance package of at least £250,000.

It would include just over £77,000 in redundancy pay, almost £14,000 of pay in lieu of notice and a pension pot payment of almost £160,000 into to compensate for early pension payment.

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