Redbridge Council defends £245k redundancy pay out to officer after three years service

PUBLISHED: 16:21 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:26 16 March 2017

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Redbridge Council

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Redbridge Council

Justin Setterfield

Redbridge Council has defended paying an officer £245,000 for redundancy after only three years service to the local authority, as part of its ongoing overhaul.

The council’s head of audit Julie Sharp chose to take voluntary redundancy following the chief executive’s overhaul, and tonight’s council papers revealed the eye-watering cost.

But the council defended this, with a spokesman saying: “The majority of the one off cost that has been quoted is the council’s obligation to ensure that the pension scheme is adequately funded and it would be incorrect to consider it represents a single payment made to an individual.

“We do not generally comment on the circumstances of individual members of staff but generally when a local government employee is made redundant they could be entitled to a pension lump sum based on their entitlement under the pension scheme and calculated to include years of service.”

Local authority staff get redundancy payouts based on their length of service in local government, which is not dependent on whether it is for the same council.

Ms Sharp has 11 years of continuous service, despite only three being with Redbridge.

Opposition leader Cllr Paul Canal described the cost as “grotesque”, and claimed that Redbridge officers and Labour councillors were unaware of the high figure until it reached committee level.

This payout is the latest in a long list, as part of an ongoing restructure which started in early 2016.

Since January 1 last year the whole senior leadership team has changed, at redundancy costs which the Recorder understands are now over the £1million mark.

The council says this will streamline the operation and it aims to save £200,000.

The spokesman added: “The benefits of this new structure include a continued strengthening of the focus on governance and assurance and ensuring greater efficiencies in the audit process.

“It will also allow us to look at our new investigation powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act and assist in taking the strongest possible action against those who commit fraud.”

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