While the Reverend Rees and his confused finance apprentice, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, cart their ridiculous Tory cuts bandwagon around the city’s neighbourhoods insisting services must be SLASHED to balance the books, their managers seem to have written themselves a BLANK CHEQUE for their excessive redundancy and pay-off expectations.
Figures recently released to the council’s Human Resources Committee show that of the 398 redundancies signed off by council Service Directors last year, 56 (15 per cent) of these were for sums in EXCESS of £60k. In total these 56 lucky people received £6,779,990 between them, which is 56 per cent of the total £11,929,765 in redundancy cash paid out by Bristol City Council last year.
Of the 56 lucky recipients of this FABULOUS LARGESSE by us, just SIX earned an average wage or below. The other 50 were on supervisory or managerial grades earning in excess of £30k a year. 21 (five per cent) especially lucky bosses received six figure pay-offs, sharing around £2.5m between them (22 per cent of the total paid out).
How strange this all is if you consult the council’s VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY, which tells us:
“The level of payment will be based upon ‘actual earnings’ to a maximum of £723 per week. The maximum payment that can be made to any employee is £43,380 which is the equivalent of 60 weeks’ pay.”
This ‘cap’ means no member of staff at the council can receive a redundancy payment of more than £43,380 . So what’s happened? Why has a democratically agreed policy been IGNORED by council service directors, who – according to the information handed to councillors on the HR committee – signed off these huge amounts of money to their friends and colleagues with no democratic oversight?
This latest OUTRAGE comes just days after Rees and Cheney were forced to admit that the council is now employing 36 more bosses on £50k plus salaries than a year ago at a cost to us of at least £2million a year. So not only have FAILED BOSSES – many of whom were involved in allowing councillors to set an unlawful budget in 2016 – been rewarded with excessive sums of redundancy money they are not entitled to, Rees and Cheney have employed even MORE bosses to replace them at MORE cost.
Why make one lot of bosses redundant at HUGE COST to save money and then employ even MORE? Is this even legal? If the posts are redundant then there should be no need to employ replacements and there should be less bosses and a lower salary bill.
We understand that councillors on the Audit Committee have queried with the HR Committee whether the Council’s Voluntary Severance Policy was “CORRECTLY IMPLEMENTED“. HR bosses have blandly and evasively brushed this off, responding: “to the best of officers’ knowledge, all exits were approved in line with the process set out at Appendix B.”
‘Appendix B’ is reproduced above. It is a soppy little flow chart that conveniently avoids legal and policy matters and neglects to refer in any way to the VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY and the ceiling on large redundancy payments or to the process for lifting this ceiling. Were these payments just signed off by Service Directors and HR middle managers as their chart suggests? On whose authority?
Oh dear. Do we have another financial scandal engineered by senior council bosses already? Shall we get Bundred back?