Posted by: John Brace | 11th March 2019

Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?

Who wants to leave Wirral Council (at a cost of £146,666)?

                                    

Fiona Johnstone (Acting Director for Strategy and Partnerships) (Wirral Council) Health and Wellbeing Board 14th March 2018

Fiona Johnstone (Acting Director for Strategy and Partnerships) (Wirral Council) Health and Wellbeing Board 14th March 2018

This is a follow up article to What is Wirral Council trying to cover up now? which also ties in to this Freedom of Information request (first refused on s.43 (commercial interests) grounds, then at internal review on s.22 grounds (information intended for future publication).

Just in case Wirral Council decide to start removing documents from their website again, the Chief Officers Report in the name of the Chief Executive Eric Robinson can be read on this website.

However in case you don’t feel like reading 18 A4 pages (although admittedly all 6 have on them is “This page is intentionally left blank”), here’s the quick summary.

The Acting Director of Strategy and Partnerships (currently Fiona Johnstone as Director 1 grade pictured above) wants to leave. As she’s employed under NHS terms and conditions, the NHS redundancy and pension scheme rules apply. The cost of paying her pension early and making her redundant is estimated at £146,666. According to Wirral Council’sPay Policy as this is above the £100,000 threshold, by my reading of it, it’s supposed to go to a vote of all councillors (when or if that happens is anyone’s guess though)!

Her post (which covered matters such as “public health, strategy, Wirral Intelligence Service, Commissioning of Community Safety and the Safer Wirral Hub, Emergency Planning and Communications”) is then deleted. As her post covers communications I’ll declare an interest as a journalist who reports on Wirral Council.

However Wirral Council can’t delete the Director of Public Health (as as far as I know it’s is a legal requirement to have this post) so the Deputy Director of Public Health gets a promotion to Director of Public Health (at Director 2) grade. But Wirral Council doesn’t get to decide on this on its own as it’s partly down to Public Health England.

Then the Deputy Director of Public Health’s position is then deleted too.

But the changes don’t stop there.

Mark Smith (Strategic Commissioner: Environment) (Wirral Council) 29th November 2018

Mark Smith (Strategic Commissioner: Environment) (Wirral Council) 29th November 2018

The post of Strategic Commissioner: Environment (occupied by Mark Smith pictured above) is also deleted. However a new job of Assistant Director: Place Services is created and Mark Smith becomes the new Assistant Director: Place Services.

In addition to this another new job of Lead Commissioner: Community Safety is created (which presumably will be taking on some of the functions of Fiona Johnstone’s deleted post).

So so far it’s 3 posts deleted and 2 created.

So that’s an annual saving of £152,273 + £109,568 + £122,826 = £384,867.

But the costs of doing this are:

Fiona Johnstone (early retirement and redundancy): £146,666
plus the cost of two new posts
Lead Commissioner: Community Safety Service £116,490
Assistant Director: Place Services £116,490.

Total (one-off): £146,666

Total (ongoing): £116,490 + £116,490 = £232,980 (ongoing annual costs of salaries plus on costs)

Total costs: £379,646 in the first year, then £232,980 thereafter.

However the budget for redundancies and early retirements comes out of capital receipts (sale of land and buildings) which is why Wirral Council are so keen to flog off so many bits of land and buildings in the Borough.

Wirral Council seems keen to fund some of its senior manager’s salaries from money it hopes to receive from the Wirral Growth Company in the future.

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Responses

  1. The knock-down, bargain basement, offloading of Dominick House or Wallasey Job Centre for £230,000 won’t really punch a hole in that £379k will it John?

    Plus they splurged £7 million on a falling down picture house.

    That won’t help.

    • Thanks for your comment Paul.

      There are plenty of other asset sales that Wirral Council have lined up (no doubt their favourite firm of auctioneers will be kept busy)!

      But they recently increased the budget for redundancies for 2019-20!

      Also the £7.1 million on the Vue Cinema in Birkenhead plus a six-figure sum in stamp duty was with borrowed money Paul. You don’t think Wirral Council would spend their own money on the Vue Cinema do you?

  2. I always thought you made a post redundant not the person. This is just an engineered redundancy. If she wants to leave why can’t she just go?. Smoke and mirrors savings once again.

    • The person has an employment contract though with Wirral Council and the NHS that entitles her as she has a permanent job to a redundancy or severance payment if their substantive post is deleted and they are not found a job elsewhere.

      Or it could just be an early retirement.

      The report lacks detail on this.

      Whatever it is, I’m not sure if the costs are being fully funded by Wirral Council or split 50/50 with the NHS!

      In answer to your other question, if she just resigned she’d have to carry on working her period of notice, which from memory is usually about 3 months.

  3. If i left my job now the place would shut down in a few weeks, yet turn over £50 mill a year, what would i get, nothing?
    Its called jobs for the boys and Wirral Council know’s how to play the game!

    • Well it’s around 45% women and 55% men in the senior management posts at Wirral Council, partly because there’s been a big push by councillors to recruit women to vacant senior management posts (as was pointed out at the last Employment and Appointments Committee).

      The “turnover” of Wirral Council is hundreds of millions a year.

      But I understand your jobs for the boys comments as invariably whether through conscious or unconscious bias councillors have been known to pick people like themselves (which isn’t a good thing).

  4. The company i would for could buy and sell Wirral Council a hundred times over, and still have a few million left over!
    My understanding is Wirral thinks paying £100, + to someone means they get the right person for the job, sadly this doesn’t work?

    • Oh I fully agree, it doesn’t matter about how much you pay the person (although managers will always want to get paid more than the workers), it’s getting the right person for the job that’s more important!


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