Northants County Council’s £2.5m redundancy payouts in past year

One Angel Square
One Angel Square

Northamptonshire County Council has paid out £2.5m in redundancy packages in the past 12 months.

During the financial year 2017/18, when the authority was facing bankruptcy and being investigated by Government inspectors, the mismanaged authority paid out the colossal sum to staff.

However, the authority is refusing to disclose how many staff received payments and how much the biggest redundancy package was. 

Labour county councillor John McGhee has now called for the names of senior officers who have left the local authority over the past four years to be revealed, as well as any payments made to them.

He said: “I want a full investigation of top officers who have come and gone over the past four years. I want the details bought to full council and also posted on the council website.”

Cllr McGhee said for many years he and other Labour councillors had questioned how many senior officers were coming and going from top positions and also the high salaries they were on.

The Tory-run authority has been lambasted recently after a Freedom of Information request by the Taxpayers’ Alliance reported that a total of 23 employees were paid more than £100,000 per year in the financial year 20178/18.

It is known that former chief executive Paul Blantern, the architect of the council’s catastrophic new generation working model, was given a redundancy payment of at least £95,000.

The £2.5m redundancy figure has been revealed in just a single line entry on the authority’s Flexible Use of Capital receipts report for 2017/18. It describes the redundancy payments as “costs of reorganisation to change the council and service delivery model”.

External auditor KMPG is currently reviewing a sample of the redundancy payments.

Its External Audit Plan for 2017/18 reports: “During the year, a number of senior officers have ceased employment at the authority. The authority is required to comply with relevant legislation and disclosure requirements when calculating termination benefits. We will review a sample of redundancy packages against applicable guidance, including disclosure requirements and the calculation of termination benefits.”

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “When any organisation is going through a period of transformation and associated changes in staffing, there is inevitably a need to budget for redundancy costs.”

To try to help out with its financial problems the county authority last week agreed the sale of its multi-million-pound headquarters One Angel Square, which was only opened six months ago. It will receive £64m for the building but has agreed to lease the building back over the next 35 years at a cost of £2m-plus a year to taxpayers. The deal has been heavily criticised.

Commissioners are expected to come in and take over the running over the county council by the end of this month.