The TPA was keeping a keen eye on Northumberland County Council. It comes after its finance officer ruled that the chief executive, Daljit Lally, had received unlawful payments. We'd previously called for the money to be repaid to local taxpayers.
But we received shocking information that, instead of paying the money back, Ms Lally was set for a £209,000 taxpayer-funded golden goodbye! Naturally, we didn't delay in putting together a campaign.
Ahead of an extraordinary general meeting, we called on councillors to sign our No Payout Pledge and block excessive payouts to council officers who have let down local taxpayers. Just two (out of 67) signed the pledge!
We held a protest outside the council's headquarters on the day of the meeting. Officials had initially ruled that the press and public would be excluded from the meeting. However, this decision was reversed thanks to pressure from the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Speaking to the local press ahead of the meeting we implored councillors not to award a golden goodbye. Sadly the payment was approved by a majority of 31 votes. However, we were successful in convincing some councillors to vote against the payout.
This was a hugely positive campaign. We've sent a clear message to councils that we will fight them every step of the way. Furthermore, we won't stand for a lack of transparency in local government. Excluding the press and public from council meetings is shameful.