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Minister accuses council of breaching regulations on reporting of senior pay-offs

A Minister for Local Government has accused a district council of failing to comply with reporting regulations when it made redundancy payments to a former chief executive and two heads of service.

In a letter to Rother District Council’s Leader, Cllr Carl Maynard, Kris Hopkins MP wrote: “Regulations require that expenditure on remuneration for certain senior staff must be reported in an authority’s annual Statement of Accounts. That information must be set out according to particular categories, including the total amount of compensation paid for loss of employment paid to each relevant employee. In order to comply with these requirements, most authorities include all relevant payments under each category in a single table, arranged by individual.

“I understand that this was not the approach that your council took in its accounts for 2013-14. Instead, redundancy payments made to your ex-chief executive and two heads of service are included only within a table collating exit payments by cost band and are not accounted for separately. We do not believe that this approach is line with the requirements of the regulations.”

The Minister added: “Importantly, the council’s current approach would not enable local taxpayers to easily identify the level of payments made to departing senior staff. I would be grateful then if you could provide an explanation of your current approach, particularly if the council has made local taxpayers aware in some other way of the amount spent on these payments.”

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Hopkins separately praised Rother’s changes to its senior management structure, which were implemented in 2013 and led to the payments being made.

The minister said these would deliver significant savings for local taxpayers, and was a type of innovation that was “certainly to be welcomed”.

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