Council pays temporary officer £1154 a day to avoid risk of "serious reputational damage"

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Cheshire East is paying a temporary senior officer £1154 a day in order to avoid the risk of "serious reputational damage to the Council".

The Council says that they had an immediate requirement to appoint a Director of Governance and Compliance, which incorporates the Statutory Monitoring Officer role.

Due to the urgency, the Acting Chief Executive Kath O'Dwyer took the decision in consultation with Cabinet members, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Staffing Committee, the Mayor and the Council's Political Group Leaders.

A report prepared for a meeting of the Council's Staffing Committee to be held on April 25th confirms that the appointee is being paid a daily rate is £995 plus a 16% management fee to the agency. Which means the cost to taxpayers is £1154 per day - £5770 a week.

A new Corporate Services structure came into effect on 1st April 2019 at Cheshire East Council and included a new post of Director of Governance and Compliance. The range of responsibilities of this post differs from that of the previous Director of Legal Services role.

There has been an acting up arrangement in place, with Daniel Dickinson taking on the post of Director of Legal Services since April 2017 due to the absence and subsequent resignation of the previous post-holder. This acting up arrangement ended on 31st March 2019.

In her report for the Staffing Committee, Sara Duncalf, Acting HR Business Partner, wrote "The Director of Governance and Compliance is also the Monitoring Officer and therefore the appointment would normally be made by Council.

"As the next Council meeting does not take place until 22 May, there would have been an unacceptable risk to the Council in being without a Monitoring Officer for the period between 1 April and 22 May 2019. There could also have been serious reputational damage to the Council."

She added "The daily rate for the post is more than that for a permanent appointment. However, it is short-term and the cost will be offset against the salary already budgeted for the post until an appointment is made, and managed within the approved budget for Governance and Compliance."

Tags:
Cheshire East Council
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Roy West
Wednesday 17th April 2019 at 8:25 pm
Unbelievable! Just another example of the way this current council have been running things; don't forget to vote for a change as soon as possible.
Bob Bracegirdle
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 3:02 pm
I wonder how they think we survive on that much every 5 or 6 weeks rather than a day.
Terry Bowes
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 3:20 pm
This Council is appalling!! How can you save a reputation that does not exist. Get rid asap.
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 3:30 pm
Sadly, As the letter I published last week shows: They are a law unto themselves. They really are an absolutely useless shower. "Governance and compliance" to what ?? The Government has no control, the LGA doesn't care and we can't stop them spending on whatever they feel appropriate any time of the day or week. Did the Mayor and Council's Political Group Leaders have a voice? did they object ? or were they just told "We're doing this and you have no say !!!??
Nick Speakman
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 3:41 pm
...and despite this being just one of the calamities this Tory Council has had, involving all sorts of indiscretions, they'll no doubt walk to a majority Tory council again on May 2nd. *sigh*

Neil Hamilton was proof you can put any old crook in a suit and elect them 'round here as long as they have a blue rosette on their lapel.
David Smith
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 5:20 pm
Do not vote Conservative at the elections in early May!
Tony Haluradivth
Friday 26th April 2019 at 8:46 am
How much of this "governance" will change with a new political order ? Naught is my guess. These civil servants just run rings around the stupid politicians. Yes give the current incumbents a good "drubbing" by all means next month, however we cannot vote out the likes of Hazel O'Dwyer as SHE is a Civil Servant ( notwithstanding her profligacy, and sheer talent for incompetence and wasting our money). There needs to be a root and branch "clear out" of senior local goverment civil servants, as their ranks have been infected by corruption and dishonesty (as per my last post about these characters resigning just before criminal investigations and moving on to another Council position in another area). If only these officials were up for election too. They do not care about disgrace and reputation they are merely the "players" and perpetrators of a nice, lucrative racket ......Where are the "Sweeney" these days when you need them?
Alan Brough
Friday 26th April 2019 at 11:06 am
We need more Councillors like Craig Browne who are willing to challenge the status quo.

Too many have been partially or wholly compliant in some of the more questionable activities of CE Council - I'm thinking about things such as Lyme Green, CoSocious, Core-Fit, the falsification of air quality data....to name but a few of the many issues that have kept Private Eye magazine's "Rotten Boroughs" section busy for a long while.

CE Council can only be a hairs-breadth away from being taken into "special measures" and I would venture that, were it not a Conservative controlled council, it would have been called to account in the same way as Northampton Council.

CE Council needs more conscience-led councillors like Craig Browne to break the stranglehold that the Conservative block vote has us locked in.

It looks increasingly likely that Wilmslow will follow Alderley Edge's lead and return more Independent Councillors next week.......fingers crossed!
Jonathan Follows
Friday 26th April 2019 at 6:56 pm
I believe that a "Chief Executive Officer" (Kath O'Dwyer, by the way, Tony) is a job which should not exist in any council, the title should be "Hired Help" and the salary commensurate with the real job. As it is, it's just our elected representatives wasting our money in yet another way. For sure, they need to appoint some people to run the council but not with such an exalted title and inflated salary. The job also confuses responsibilities because it's the elected councillors who bear the responsibility, not the hired help. The track record of CEC's high level appointments is not good, inasmuch as we're able to see the truth through the obfuscation.
A legal officer might be a necessity, although my experience with lawyers in the public sector (not local government) is that they existed to stop you doing your job properly.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 1st May 2019 at 8:22 am
Yes Jonathan, it sounds like you are spot on there ;)
David Isherwood
Friday 3rd May 2019 at 9:06 pm
Jonathan Follows - you are quite right. Too many in politics have forgotten that they are there as elected representatives