Councils spend £1.3million... to get rid of staff

Councils spend £1.3million... to get rid of staff

Councils spend £1.3million... to get rid of staff

First published in News Exclusive by

TWO councils have been criticised for promoting a “golden goodbye” culture after it emerged nearly £1.3million had been spent paying off staff in the past year.

Southend Council agreed exit packages for 48 departing staff, costing taxpayers £789,380 in the past year, while Basildon Council spent £509,324 on 46 staff in the same period.

The bumper pay-offs come despite both councils trying to save millions of pounds due to Government cuts.

The figures have prompted critics to slam a “golden goodbye”

culture at both councils.

Andy Silvester, campaign manager at the Taxpayer’s Alliance, said: “For too long, councils have given out golden goodbyes with impunity, and it’s one of the reasons the UK’s finances are in such a fragile state.

“The cost of local government simply has to come down.”

Of the 48 staff who left Southend Council, nine of them were redundancies, while the other 39 were voluntary. That includes a £69,000 payout to a senior education official and £41,000 to a senior member of council staff.

There was also a rise in the wage bill for top staff at the authority, from £1,824,710 in 2012/13 to £1,883,807 in 2013/14.

Tim Sneller, Unison representative for Southend Council staff, said: “This shows the hidden cost of cuts to councils.

“Funds for redundancies need to be found by councils, despite themhaving to cut staff tomake savings anyway.

“Obviously, we won’t support people getting huge golden goodbyes and getting a massive spending package for leaving the council, but the council does have a policy where redundancies are related to pay, albeit not at a brilliant rate.”

The figure for Basildon was more than treble the £163,126 it paid on laying off eight staff in 2012/13.

Just five of the departures were redundancies.

Nigel Smith, deputy leader of the Labour party on Basildon Council, said: “I’ve been very critical of the costs involved in getting rid of council staff, especially when staff losses result in a reduction in services.

“At the same time, it is costing a huge amount of money to get rid of people and it is essentially spending a lot of taxpayers’ money for them to get a reduction in services.

“The whole culture of paying lots of money seems to be in a lot of areas, such as banking, but it should not be in

Comments (7)

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7:56pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Fab man says...

This & recent stories just shows how the Civil Service is rotten to the core. They have to remember that they are answerable to the private sector taxpayers who pay their wages not themselves. Stalin would be proud of his subjects.
This & recent stories just shows how the Civil Service is rotten to the core. They have to remember that they are answerable to the private sector taxpayers who pay their wages not themselves. Stalin would be proud of his subjects. Fab man
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Tue 5 Aug 14

BasildonDond says...

Don't believe what you read in the news, journalists get off on not telling the whole story or conveniently not getting their facts right. All these stories are written to entice a negative reaction
Don't believe what you read in the news, journalists get off on not telling the whole story or conveniently not getting their facts right. All these stories are written to entice a negative reaction BasildonDond
  • Score: 1

10:41pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Southchurch75 says...

A freedom of information request to certain schools in the borough where staff have been laid off regarding redundancy payments might be quite revealing!
A freedom of information request to certain schools in the borough where staff have been laid off regarding redundancy payments might be quite revealing! Southchurch75
  • Score: 0

9:48am Wed 6 Aug 14

Howard Cháse says...

Solid gold pocket linings and handshakes all round.


They're just changing the guard at the Beltstrainers Lunch Club.


One lot of guts for a new lot....
Solid gold pocket linings and handshakes all round. They're just changing the guard at the Beltstrainers Lunch Club. One lot of guts for a new lot.... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

10:43am Wed 6 Aug 14

Russ13 says...

This needs a little context.... does the amount include "genuine" redundancies? If so then it's not actually that bad.

In the absence of "real" numbers, let's assume 10 staff who have been employed for 10+ years earning £30K have been made redundant. It would be reasonable to expect them to get a payout of around a year's net salary which would equate to around £200K-£250K (based on 75% of a month's salary for every year they've been employed up to 12 years).

People leaving the SBC "voluntarily", were these people just deciding to leave or voluntary redundancy? If it's the latter they're still entitled to full redundancy pay, in fact some organisations will add a little incentive to those taking VR as it's eaier and causes less pain to those who might other wise get made redundant.

I can't help feeling we're only getting part of the story here and that it's not actually as bad as it sounds.
This needs a little context.... does the amount include "genuine" redundancies? If so then it's not actually that bad. In the absence of "real" numbers, let's assume 10 staff who have been employed for 10+ years earning £30K have been made redundant. It would be reasonable to expect them to get a payout of around a year's net salary which would equate to around £200K-£250K (based on 75% of a month's salary for every year they've been employed up to 12 years). People leaving the SBC "voluntarily", were these people just deciding to leave or voluntary redundancy? If it's the latter they're still entitled to full redundancy pay, in fact some organisations will add a little incentive to those taking VR as it's eaier and causes less pain to those who might other wise get made redundant. I can't help feeling we're only getting part of the story here and that it's not actually as bad as it sounds. Russ13
  • Score: -2

1:08pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Southend-on-Sea B.C Communications says...

Yes this article is misleading, as is the reference to 'golden goodbyes'.

These are all statutory redundancy payments made to staff who have either been made redundant or have opted for voluntary redundancy. As the poster above makes clear, any member of staff is entitled to a redundancy payment if they are made redundant due to a change in service or due to a restructure. There were no additonal discretionary payments made, and the reference by the TPA to them as 'golden goodbyes' is misleading at best.
Yes this article is misleading, as is the reference to 'golden goodbyes'. These are all statutory redundancy payments made to staff who have either been made redundant or have opted for voluntary redundancy. As the poster above makes clear, any member of staff is entitled to a redundancy payment if they are made redundant due to a change in service or due to a restructure. There were no additonal discretionary payments made, and the reference by the TPA to them as 'golden goodbyes' is misleading at best. Southend-on-Sea B.C Communications
  • Score: -4

10:38am Sun 10 Aug 14

Letmetryagain says...

A similar thing used to happen at Rochford. Where one of the senior
executives had his wife working for him.
She was made redundant, and received a payout, way above what she was
entitled to.
She was then taken straight back on again.

Then in another case, a girl was given a year off on full pay. Because the bloke in the office she was having an affair with, ended their "romance".
I kid you not.
A similar thing used to happen at Rochford. Where one of the senior executives had his wife working for him. She was made redundant, and received a payout, way above what she was entitled to. She was then taken straight back on again. Then in another case, a girl was given a year off on full pay. Because the bloke in the office she was having an affair with, ended their "romance". I kid you not. Letmetryagain
  • Score: 0

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