Council spends £330,000 on severance packages, only to rehire the employees a month later

October 13, 2011 2:14 PM

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that Stoke-on-Trent City Council made 25 members of its staff redundant and offered them a total of £330,000 in severance pay, only to then rehire the workers into different positions approximately a month later.

At a time when most councils are finding savings and making redundancies where they can, it is absurd that a single council could dish out so much of taxpayers’ money only to reassign the workers new roles a short time later.



The revelation is rightfully being blasted as “scandalously wasting vital taxpayers’ cash”. A justifiable criticism, as £330,000 could have been saved by simply moving the redundant employees to different departments straight away instead of creating cost and admin work around making them redundant and paying huge amounts for a month of missed work. Considering a cuts package of £36 million will be required from the authority that, according to Councillor Dave Conway, is “down to its bare knuckles already”, this looks like a massive misuse of funds.

Taxpayers will wonder why HR were unaware there were other roles that departing staff could fill that were about to open up at the council. Sadly, redundancies are likely to be the way to achieve at least part of the savings that Stoke-on-Trent has to make, but the redistribution of the workers within the council should have been the first and most obvious step before redundancies were considered. By skipping it, the workers were given large amounts of taxpayers’ money - effectively giving them a holiday at the taxpayers’ expense.

£330,000 isn’t about to make a significant dent in the national debt, but one wonders where the council’s priorities lie when it is looking at cuts to funding in educational support for deaf children. Helping deaf children seems far more admirable than offering generous redundancy packages to someone who can be hired back a month later.

We’re not talking about a year-long hiatus either. One employee was reemployed at the council just 27 days after his redundancy, and two more waited only 32 days, according to the Staffordshire Sentinel. Further, the notion that these public servants accepted the payments as they walked out the front door only to later come back in through the back door with a new title is offensive and a blatant waste of taxpayers’ funds.A Freedom of Information request has revealed that Stoke-on-Trent City Council made 25 members of its staff redundant and offered them a total of £330,000 in severance pay, only to then rehire the workers into different positions approximately a month later.

At a time when most councils are finding savings and making redundancies where they can, it is absurd that a single council could dish out so much of taxpayers’ money only to reassign the workers new roles a short time later.



The revelation is rightfully being blasted as “scandalously wasting vital taxpayers’ cash”. A justifiable criticism, as £330,000 could have been saved by simply moving the redundant employees to different departments straight away instead of creating cost and admin work around making them redundant and paying huge amounts for a month of missed work. Considering a cuts package of £36 million will be required from the authority that, according to Councillor Dave Conway, is “down to its bare knuckles already”, this looks like a massive misuse of funds.

Taxpayers will wonder why HR were unaware there were other roles that departing staff could fill that were about to open up at the council. Sadly, redundancies are likely to be the way to achieve at least part of the savings that Stoke-on-Trent has to make, but the redistribution of the workers within the council should have been the first and most obvious step before redundancies were considered. By skipping it, the workers were given large amounts of taxpayers’ money - effectively giving them a holiday at the taxpayers’ expense.

£330,000 isn’t about to make a significant dent in the national debt, but one wonders where the council’s priorities lie when it is looking at cuts to funding in educational support for deaf children. Helping deaf children seems far more admirable than offering generous redundancy packages to someone who can be hired back a month later.

We’re not talking about a year-long hiatus either. One employee was reemployed at the council just 27 days after his redundancy, and two more waited only 32 days, according to the Staffordshire Sentinel. Further, the notion that these public servants accepted the payments as they walked out the front door only to later come back in through the back door with a new title is offensive and a blatant waste of taxpayers’ funds.

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