It’s a funny way of saving money when you dole out just over £223,000 of taxpayers’ money in order to cut £220,000 of council expenses! But that’s just how Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) has chosen to ease out two of their senior council officers.
Cheltenham’s executive director, director of commissioning and one admin post have split a pot of taxpayers’ money of £223,492 in order to save £220,000 by 2016. The executive director gets a redundancy package of £50,000, while the director of commissioning and the admin post are to receive a whopping £173,000 to cover redundancy and pension fund contributions. The plan is to reduce Cheltenham’s senior management team from seven to four.
‘It is not right for councillors to waste taxpayers' money with lavish payments which cannot be properly justified,’ says a local TPA supporter, who first brought this story to our attention. ‘Over the last few years we have seen too many senior staff promoted to the top pay grades for a few years, only to then be told that they have agreed on their terms to go in order to save money. Would someone please explain why, with all these “savings”, we continue to be short of funds?’
‘Can the leader of the council,’ continues our supporter, ‘assure us all that the severance packages being paid to senior managers are based on the same rules as those paid to junior staff? We are not “all in it together” if we have different rules for the lower paid.’
On the plus side, CBC’s cost of services has fallen from £20m to £10m as the council seeks to share its services with other authorities.
‘With significant central government cuts,’ says the council’s current chief executive, ‘it makes sense to consider our future as a much smaller organisation, managing a diverse set of relationships with partners but continuing to offer some direct delivery where necessary. A smaller-sized council means we can reduce overheads in areas such as office space, support services and senior management; it also means services delivered to council taxpayers are protected.’ But not paying out more than you are saving in public sector fat cat payments would help!