Council's £500,000 in employee pay-offs revealed

Kingston Guardian: How the Comet reported Duncan Clark's £128,000 pay-off How the Comet reported Duncan Clark's £128,000 pay-off

Kingston Council has paid out more than £500,000 in settlements to former employees in the last five years, the Surrey Comet has learned.

A total of 10 senior managers have left the borough’s employ with pay-offs since 2008, including four who left by “mutual agreement” and signed contracts forbidding them from speaking about their jobs or reasons for leaving.

They include former director of children’s services Duncan Clark, who quit Kingston in 2012 with a year’s salary of £128,625 – days before the damning Ofsted report into child protection was made public.

In the same year as Mr Clark’s departure, another manager left with a £36,000 pay off.

The other six received payments as part of a redundancy package. Ten other senior managers left or retired without additional payments.

In total, the council forked out £506,236.15 to former employees. The figures were released by the council following a Freedom of Information request by the Surrey Comet.

Kingston resident Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Of course staff who are made redundant are entitled to payment, but the council needs to ensure that they are not excessive.

“Far too often the terms of redundancy in local authorities are far more generous than is standard in the private sector.

“Residents should be deeply worried about the use of compromise agreements, which are tantamount to gagging orders, because they effectively silence former employees who may be in a position to expose failings or wrongdoing.

“These deals go against the principle of openness and transparency, which should be paramount for any public body that is spending taxpayers’ money.”

Kingston Council leader Derek Osbourne said he thought it was likely the four settlements contained non-disclosure agreements.

He said: “I imagine these are people we have dismissed and took us to a tribunal.

“What we do as a rule of thumb is if somebody is claiming unfair dismissal, we try and settle a package that is cheaper than the cost of an industrial tribunal.”

Pay-offs between 2008/2013

2008-9
Two redundancies – payments of £50,643.08 and £48,650.10
One “mutual agreement” (payment of £60,000 in settlement)

2009-10

One redundancy – £55,928.97
One mutual agreement – £30,000
 

2010-11

Two redundancies – £39,180.48 and £42,082.77

2011-12
No redundancies and none left by mutual agreement

2012-13
One redundancy – £15,125.75
Two mutual agreements – £128,625 and £36,000

Comments (2)

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9:53am Fri 26 Apr 13

Beverly RA says...

Half a million quid of OUR money down the drian,
That why the Lib Dems have no money to keep nurseries open.
Someting about managing a brewery springs to mind.
Half a million quid of OUR money down the drian, That why the Lib Dems have no money to keep nurseries open. Someting about managing a brewery springs to mind. Beverly RA
  • Score: 0

10:20am Fri 26 Apr 13

AlexKingston says...

There are people in his borough watching every penny and Derek Osbourne "imagines" the situation around half a million quid. It's a complete disconnect from the real world. Unbelievable.
There are people in his borough watching every penny and Derek Osbourne "imagines" the situation around half a million quid. It's a complete disconnect from the real world. Unbelievable. AlexKingston
  • Score: 0

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