£500,000 pay off for Norfolk council boss could be last as ‘golden goodbyes’ capped
- Credit: Archant
An exit package worth around £500,000 received by a Norfolk council boss could be among the last as public sector pay-offs are capped at £95,000.
A pledge to end taxpayer-funded six-figure payoffs for the best paid public sector workers’ was included in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto.
Five years after the manifesto, new rules will finally come into force on November 4, capping public sector exit payments.
Exit packages over £100,000 reportedly cost the public purse £200m in 2017 to 2018, including compulsory and voluntary redundancies.
The new rules apply to public bodies ranging from town halls to hospitals, police forces to quangos and Government departments as well as the BBC.
MORE: Council boss paid £500,000 exit package - then gets new jobBig payoffs have been a source of controversy.
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Last month it was revealed former South Norfolk District Council chief executive, Sandra Dinneen had received around £500,000 when she left the council in April 2019, just after turning 55. She was entitled to the money through the Local Government Pension Scheme.
It meant that around half of the £900,000 restructuring costs paid by South Norfolk and Broadland District councils as it merged its leadership teams went to Ms Dinneen.
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South Norfolk Council alone spent £590,000 in exit packages.
Under the new law, any worker over the age of 55 who is made redundant will be affected by the cap, which will include the payment employers make to pension funds.
It means that in most cases, even long-serving employees cannot leave with more than a total of £95,000 in redundancy payments, settlements, severance pay and pension top-ups.
Trade union Unison said this was ‘unfair, unjustified and causing anxiety’ among ‘thousands’ of long-serving council staff who would suffer in retirement as a result.
Unison’s head of local government, Jon Richards, said: “We’re outraged that, despite knowing older, long-serving staff would suffer, ministers simply ploughed on.
“The message this attack sends to public sector workers, many of whom are on the frontline as Covid infection rates rise, is that, despite all you’ve done, you don’t matter.
MORE: Huge pay-offs for departing council bosses revealed - including £388,000 exit package“It’s galling that, as ministers divert billions of pounds to failing private companies to fight the pandemic, the people risking all to keep us safe have been treated so callously.”
Ministers have insisted that employees would still benefit from a ‘significant level of compensation’.
Payouts for accidents or death in service are not included in the cap. And local authorities can waive the rules to settle whistleblowing or discrimination cases.
Experts predict the regulations will be challenged in court.