The £225k golden handshake for a former Norfolk council chief

Former North Norfolk District Council chief executive Philip Burton.

Former North Norfolk District Council chief executive Philip Burton. - Credit: IAN BURT

A Norfolk chief executive was given a £225,000 golden handshake when he took early retirement, new figures have revealed.

Philip Burton took early retirement from North Norfolk District Council at the age of 57 last year after more than eight years in the post.

But new figures compiled by the Taxpayers' Alliance have revealed for the first time the package which Mr Burton received when he left the authority.

It shows that Mr Burton, who was on a salary of £94,572, was given £225,294 as compensation for loss of office. He also received £6,728 as a cash alternative to having a company car and just over £13,000 in employer pension contributions.

North Norfolk District Council said it had undertook a radical restructure of its senior staff a year ago, over the winter of 2011/12, reducing the corporate leadership team from five to three, with Mr Burton one of the departures.

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A spokesman for North Norfolk District Council said: 'A significant restructure of senior management at North Norfolk District Council was undertaken in early 2012, reducing the number of senior managers from 18 to 10.

'As part of the restructure programme, the council's former chief executive took early retirement. The cost of the severance payment was recouped with savings of more than £230,000 made within 12 months.'

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Former Norfolk County Council chief executive David White was included in the Taxpayers' Alliance's 20 top-earning council workers in 2011/12.

Mr White, who took voluntary redundancy last month, was paid a salary of £205,300, and a total remuneration of £256,900.

Anne Gibson, acting managing director, said: 'Norfolk County Council no longer has a chief executive role. As has been widely reported the county council recently decided to change its top post and as a consequence, the post of chief executive was made redundant.

'We are currently recruiting for a new managing director at a reduced salary (proposed £165,000 to £180,000).'

A dozen members of staff at Norfolk County Council earned more than £100,000 in 2011/12, down on the 25 over the previous year.

Ms Gibson said: 'We keep under very close review senior management requirements as part of our continuing efficiency drive and this latest publication demonstrates success in doing so.

'Norfolk County Council is the only local council that covers the whole of Norfolk and provide value for money public services to 860,000 Norfolk people.

'We are responsible and accountable for the efficient management of a combined budget in excess of £1.5bn on our residents behalf.'

At Norwich City Council, the number of staff earning £100,000 or more was cut from six to three, while at Broadland District Council there are now none, compared to one last year. At South Norfolk Council the number went up from one to four, while Breckland Council remained at one. There were three people at West Norfolk Council earning at least £100,000, down from five the year before.

North Norfolk District Council went down from five to one, while Great Yarmouth Borough Council remained at two.

Suffolk County Council reduced its six-figure earners by one to eight in 2011/12 and now has six.

Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal's joint chief executive Stephen Baker said he is the only member of staff at the two authorities to be remunerated by more than £100,000.

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