Council chief pay-offs prompt anger

By staff

There was anger across the political spectrum today after an audit found council chiefs were being given six-figure pay offs only to quickly take up jobs at different councils.

An Audit Commission report ordered by local government secretary John Denham cited enormous pay offs to council chiefs as the council preferred to get rid of under-performing chief executives quickly, rather than through the more protracted process of branding them incompetent.

The move then allowed them to go on and take up a similar position.

“The Audit Commission report shows that too many chief executives are being dismissed because they have fallen out with council leaders – this can cost as much as £500,000 and is all too often seen as a quick-fix solution,” Mr Denham said.

“Taxpayers’ money should not be used to resolve personal differences.”

Since 2006, councils have paid out an average of nearly £260,000 each to 37 chief executives. One sixth of them then went on to get a similar job somewhere else.

Over a third of the chief executives leaving their posts between 2007 and 2009 received compensation. One was paid over £500,000 to leave his job.