Top jobs merry-go-round makes mockery of RDA golden goodbyes

July 11, 2012 9:00 AM

The abolition of the UK’s eight Regional Development Agencies (RDA) was always going to cost more in the short term, but taxpayers expected to save money in the longer term. But the Daily Mail has revealed this week that former RDA bosses received substantial pay-offs only to walk right into other taxpayer-funded top jobs.

Figures released in their final accounts show that taxpayers have picked up the bill to fund generous pay-offs for staff at the now defunct agencies.  The average pay-out was almost £33,000, but some individuals trousered much fatter wads of taxpayers’ cash:

  • Ian Williams, the deputy chief executive at One North East, received £374,542 when he stepped down at the end of last year - triple his annual salary. Just a few months later, in March this year, Mr Williams landed a new public sector job as director of business investment at Sunderland City Council.

  • Mark Pearce, the corporate director of Advantage West Midlands, pocketed £312,147 and an additional £13,500 bonus after an ‘early retirement’ at the end of last month. Shockingly he strolled into a new position as the managing director of Hereford Enterprise Zone the very next day!

  • Steve Cox, the former executive director of spatial strategy at the East of England Development Agency, left with a £123,000 pay-off to “compensate” him for “loss of office”. Just six days later he started as Assistant Chief Executive at Thurrock Council.


Even from beyond the grave, the RDAs continue to fleece taxpayers. The Government needs to ensure that when it abolishes public bodies that they negotiate a good deal. It’s insulting that taxpayers fund golden goodbyes and then continue paying large salaries when employees walk straight into another public role. Taxpayers can take comfort from the fact that the agencies are now dead and buried but the Government must learn lessons from the mistakes of the past. Taxpayers shouldn’t be lumbered with multi-million pound bills for this obscene jobs merry-go-round.The abolition of the UK’s eight Regional Development Agencies (RDA) was always going to cost more in the short term, but taxpayers expected to save money in the longer term. But the Daily Mail has revealed this week that former RDA bosses received substantial pay-offs only to walk right into other taxpayer-funded top jobs.

Figures released in their final accounts show that taxpayers have picked up the bill to fund generous pay-offs for staff at the now defunct agencies.  The average pay-out was almost £33,000, but some individuals trousered much fatter wads of taxpayers’ cash:

  • Ian Williams, the deputy chief executive at One North East, received £374,542 when he stepped down at the end of last year - triple his annual salary. Just a few months later, in March this year, Mr Williams landed a new public sector job as director of business investment at Sunderland City Council.

  • Mark Pearce, the corporate director of Advantage West Midlands, pocketed £312,147 and an additional £13,500 bonus after an ‘early retirement’ at the end of last month. Shockingly he strolled into a new position as the managing director of Hereford Enterprise Zone the very next day!

  • Steve Cox, the former executive director of spatial strategy at the East of England Development Agency, left with a £123,000 pay-off to “compensate” him for “loss of office”. Just six days later he started as Assistant Chief Executive at Thurrock Council.


Even from beyond the grave, the RDAs continue to fleece taxpayers. The Government needs to ensure that when it abolishes public bodies that they negotiate a good deal. It’s insulting that taxpayers fund golden goodbyes and then continue paying large salaries when employees walk straight into another public role. Taxpayers can take comfort from the fact that the agencies are now dead and buried but the Government must learn lessons from the mistakes of the past. Taxpayers shouldn’t be lumbered with multi-million pound bills for this obscene jobs merry-go-round.

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