All posts tagged 'Peter-Gilroy'

KCC officer payouts: auditors deliver a rap on the knuckles

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Tuesday, November 30 2010

NOT unreasonable. Not unlawful. That’s the conclusion of Kent County Council’s auditors about various six-figure payouts to some of its top officers – including the infamous £200,000 paid to former chief executive Peter Gilroy.

 But while KCC can take some consolation from these conclusions, it can be less sanguine about some of the auditor’s other critical comments about how various deals and compromise payments were negotiated.

 Read how Gilroy's £200k cost £408k>>>

 

And many people will be shocked that the £200,000 payment offered to Mr Gilroy to ensure his pension was not adversely affected after he agreed to extend his contract actually cost the taxpayer a staggering £408,000.

KCC chose not to disclose this information at the time and even in February this year, when The KM Group broke the story about the payment to Mr Gilroy, no-one mentioned that the cost to the public purse was twice the actual sum.

 Auditors have a reputation of measuring any criticisms they may have rather carefully but there’s no disguising that they regard the county council’s arrangements for negotiating severance deals as having considerable shortcomings.

 

Their report talks about “recurring weaknesses” in the authority’s arrangements.

 

The consideration of value for money “was not adequately documented.” There was a “lack of effective performance management of staff.”  There was “little evidence” to show that the council “assessed the relative strength of individual legal claims against it” or that “payments made achieved the best/lowest settlement for council taxpayers.”

Perhaps most damaging is that “reports to members did not always provide a full, balanced view of the circumstances of individual cases.”

In the case of the controversial £200k that came Mr Gilroy’s way “the report to [KCC’s] personnel committee “fell short” of the standards; was "very brief" and “did not set out the full cost to the council - £408k. Neither did it “explore alternative options or evaluate value for money” and “it was not shared in advance with the Director of Finance.”

A pretty serious rap on the knuckles, then, on a subject that has done more to anger council taxpayers’ than probably anything else in the last year.

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Categories: Councils | KCC | Local Politics

More on how your money is spent - including a £4.50 taxi ride

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Friday, October 1 2010

We've reported more on how County Hall has spent public money through its corporate credit cards today, along with some other interesting details about how the taxpayer has picked up the tab for a £4.50 taxi ride made by former chief executive Peter Gilroy.

The County Hall Spending Files>>>

There are some who think we have been wrong to present our disclosures in the way we have; some who think we are being too critical and sensationalising the subject and some who think (wrongly) that there is some other reason for our coverage - which has been based purely on our judgement that it is very much in the public interest and a subject our readers will find interesting to read about - whatever their views.

Others believe that if a public body is embracing transparency, then it cannot pick and choose which transactions it would prefer to be transparent about. One point worth making here is that many of the transactions that we have detailed fall below the £500 threshold set by the government at which all councils will be required to put into the public domain data on all invoices above that sum.

So, had the information not been gathered by a concerned resident and passed to us, a considerable amount of it would never have seen the light of day. KCC has rightly come round to the view that being open is a virtue and one that ultimately will be good for it and the residents it is there to serve.

As its own report unveiling its plans for a new transparency regime says, it is important that residents are able to make judgements about not just the costs they, as taxpayers, are bearing but that they can also make judgments about the value of what is being done with their money.

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Interestingly, the new Labour group leader on the Local Government Association has hit out at the government's transparency plans, asserting that they are a waste of time and councils have better things to do. You can read about it here Some of the comments are illuminating.

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I've blogged a couple of times about how Ed Miliband might play with the voters of Kent - especially the 80,000+ that deserted the party between 2005 and 2010. I've suggested he might become the Iain Duncan Smith of the party. But I was talking to a colleague who suggested a better comparison might be with William Hague, who had an ill-fated attempt to lead the party out of the wilderness after its nightmare of a defeat in 1997.  Just steer clear of the baseball cap, Ed. 


 

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