Wirral’s councillors asked to agree to £390,176.03 “golden goodbye” for Joe Blott and £1 million for other departing managers
Wirral Council had another public meeting in private (an assumption on my part as I wasn’t there) on Monday afternoon to obtain councillors’ agreement to a recommendation to save money by spending an estimated £1.4 million and increasing the salary of the Monitoring Officer to try and solve recruitment issues to this post.
The move also marks the imminent departure of the last of the three strategic directors hired when Graham Burgess was Chief Executive Joe Blott (his arrival and departure were both claimed to save money). If agreed by councillors he will receive £93,412.60 severance and receive his pension early at a cost of £296,763.43 (total £390,176.03).
As the proposed severance amounts to over £100,000 all councillors will have a vote on it at a future meeting.
After the headlines in 2015 over Kevin Adderley’s departure, the report recommending Blott’s early retirement implies that councillors have no choice.
Spending an estimated £1.4 million to save £750,000 a year on salary costs probably sounds to the public as a nonsense, although in the strange world of local government finance it can be done.
To borrow a W1A quote, local government appears at the moment is about “us identifying what we do best and finding more ways of doing less of it better”.
The reality is that Wirral Council’s budget problems for 2018-19 have little to do with the government (Wirral Council had already agreed a four-year financial settlement with the government), but are caused in part by senior management and the Cabinet believing that the problems in Childrens’ Services are ones that can be solved by throwing money at them (such as expensive agency staff). And then of course more money…
As Wirral Council’s auditors pointed out, in their opinion Wirral Council doesn’t provide value for money in this area, the areas that caused this were identified as governance ones in the OFSTED report and it’s already been pointed out that progress is too slow.
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