The return of golden handshakes at @southkesteven.

Last week, SKDC had a corporate sense of deja vu. Lots of concern about alleged golden handshakes given to senior staff unexpectedly leaving.

Back in 2009, there was a difference of opinion between the Leader of South Kesteven District Council, Cllr Linda Neal and her Chief Executive, Duncan Kerr, about whether he should be allowed an extended period of leave to go on a cycle ride across Europe. The end result was that Mr Kerr was given unlimited leave, or rather, he was told to leave and never come back.

Thanks to years of whining from those pesky trade unions, a Council can’t just sack senior staff on the spot without any evidence of Gross Misconduct and so Mr Kerr was ‘encouraged’ to leave with the help of a financial settlement. It is believed to have been over £100.000 but I don’t think the figures were ever made public so we don’t really know, (even though Cllr Phil Dilks (Lab) tried every trick in the book to try to get the figures public.

Almost a decade later, last November, another Senior Manager of SKDC was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was working there for years quite happily, and all of a sudden there was a new Tory administration and it was decided he had to go in a hurry. For legal reasons we are not supposed to say how much the staff member was paid in compensation of his swift departure. I mentioned at Full Council last week that it was over £100,000 and I was tacitly accused of breaking confidentiality. I don’t see how I could break confidentiality when I wasn’t told the information in the first place, I had just put two and two together. Anyway, I won’t risk breaking confidentiality again but I will just draw readers attention to a couple of lines from the agenda pack for the Governance and Audit Committee of 21st June which have been in the public domain for several weeks.

Page 180 of this publicly available report states:

a) The Strategic Director (S151 Officer) left the Council on 23rd November 2017.
b) The ‘Compensation for Loss of Employment’ relating to the Strategic Director (S151 Officer) was £141,000.
I’ll leave you to join the dots!

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