Thursday 23 October 2014

Chief Executive pay-off - Plaid demand full open debate

An article in last week's South Wales Guardian featured a quote from leader Cllr Kevin Madge (Lab) remarking on the ongoing restructuring of senior management in the council which, he said, included the possibility of abolishing the chief executive role.

Earlier this month, (see Severance), I queried the fact that it was the chief executive himself who had been delegated to extend the severance scheme to cover this year, and also that he had said publicly that he was the one doing the senior management restructuring review...the golden path neatly paved then. All that's now needed is the loyal rubber stamp from Kev, Pam and Co.

This week's paper features a response (not online yet) from Plaid opposition leader Cllr Emlyn Dole who seems to have picked up a very similar train of thought and has, with last week's dire events at Pembs council also in mind I'm sure, demanded that any decision involving a pay-off for the chief executive should be debated by full council and held in public;

"As leader of the opposition group on the council I have to question where the suggestion of making the chief executive's post redundant has come from. 
There has been no discussion on the future of that position. It's therefore not unreasonable to question whether the management structure of the council is possibly being changed in order to secure a financial pay-off for one person. 
The 28-strong Plaid Cymru group that I lead will want any decision on the chief executive's departure and potential pay-off to be brought in front of full council for all councillors to have their say. 
In doing so we will demand that a decision is made in full view of the public so they can see how councillors are spending their money"
Of course, what you demand and what you get can be a very different matter in our council and Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the Plaid AM has already said that Mr James should have no more public money.

However, I would have thought even Mr Madge might agree with Plaid on this one, particularly if he's been listening to public opinion or more to the point, the 'voter'. There's a snapshot of that public opinion over on the petition, which is still available to sign and, if you wish, leave a comment.

Mr Madge has been deeply involved in the whole sorry unlawful payments scandal and has consistently defended the questionable use of public money, despite the financial abyss; most recently defending the £26,000 paid to QC Tim Kerr for the fruitless legal opinions as 'reasonable and necessary'..

Update 24th Oct; I understand that the long awaited WLGA Governance Review report, required following the pension and libel indemnity scandals, is currently being translated and will be published at the end of next week. Everyone who contributed to the review will receive a copy and it will also be published on the WLGA website.

A full page article appeared in today's Welsh language current affairs magazine Golwg highlighting the petition and the subject of the impending pay-off. It is not online but available at all good newsagents in Wales.

Golwg 23rd October 2014

Cllr Sian Caiach makes the point that under the severance scheme, key members of the workforce are not supposed to take redundancy.

Should a business case be put forward and be accepted, then this may leave a curious situation. If Meryl, Kev and co wish to give the chief executive a gold plated Christmas present, they will be forced to agree, after bleating for years about their wonderful, and indispensable chief executive, that both he, and the role is in fact, entirely dispensable.


Anonymous said...

I emailed the review team with comments, does that mean I will be sent a copy ?

Anonymous said...

Have you had any pre-publication gossip about what's in it ?

caebrwyn said...

Anons 15:53 and 15:55

Yes, I would have thought you'd be sent a copy. Email them to ask.

I am aware of the strength of some of the criticism and the suggestion which have been sent in, not least of all from Sir David Lewis.

Although this was supposed to be an independent report, there have been 'workshops' with councillors and staff and preliminary findings which have been shared with party leaders. (see previous posts).
I will reserve judgement until I've seen the final report.
The short answer though is no, I'm not aware of the contents.

Redhead said...

"Independent" means something quite different in your part of the world! In CCC council-speak it means "not Independent at all - far from it" so they must be very confused ...!

caebrwyn said...

It's a ridiculous situation and needs looking at by the powers that be before the next local election. clearly they should have to register as a political party and follow the rules. Many are fully paid up members of parties anyway and this should also be declared at election time.
Only a truly unaffiliated independent candidate should be able to have 'independent' on their ballot paper.
Something for the Electoral Commission to look at perhaps.
Hmm, I may drop them a line..

Anonymous said...

Yesterday Caebrwyn mentioned the criticisms of Sir David Lewis which he sent to the WLGA Governance Review in the comments page.

From personal experience I can say that the way the council is run allows genuine concerns from whistleblowers to be ignored or to be acted on in such a manner as to keep from the public and parties with an interest, anything that may impact on the reputation of the authority.

I have found that the whistleblowing policy is not followed; the POVA policy is not followed and neither is the statutory social service complaints policy based on the statutory welsh "Listening & Learning" guidance followed.

These policies are in place to protect service users and the public. When they are not followed it is against the public interest. The public purse pay the Carmarthenshire County Council to act in the public's interest and members need to, through proper and genuine scrutiny, be able to control the officers by making sure the policies agreed by members are being followed.

I hope that the readers of your blog Jacqui will click on the following two links concerning "Edna's Law" which was discussed on Y Cneifiwr's blog.

There is a petition which can be signed which hopefully will succeed in persuading the government to, through legislation, prevent employers and public bodies getting away scot free when they do not act on genuine concerns and cover up their own wrongdoing.

Public bodies need to be held accountable when they deliberately ignore their own policies.

The PIDA does nothing to stop public bodies abusing the public purse to cover up their own wrongdoing.

The only way at the moment to hold them accountable is through the common law of misconduct in public office when they act against their own employers (the public).

Just google "Edna's Law petition" if you have difficulty with the links.

Though I am a Carmarthenshire County Council whistleblower I am not Delyth but did attend the protest outside parliament on September 10. Witnessing Delyth's strength and determination has helped me fight to have the Chief Executive, other senior officers in the Social Services Department and their advisors held accountable for their actions against the public interest.

Please sign the petition on Edna's Law.


caebrwyn said...

Thank you whistleblower. here are direct links to the website and the petition;

There is also a link to the petition on the sidebar, towards the end.

Anonymous said...

comment Redhead- which members are members of political parties ?
assume you mean within Independent Group as i assume Plaid & Labour are members of their parties / where can you find that info is there a register ? should it be declared ?

Redhead said...

This is CCC you are talking about - the normal rules don't apply. Best way to check if councillors are independent is to check their voting records. You will find that, except in very minor situations, the so-called Independents actually vote with Labour.

This will be even more common at the next election in the UK as a whole as Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems will call themselves Independent to try to save their seats and - even more important - their allowances.

Anonymous said...

"I have found that the whistleblowing policy is not followed; the POVA policy is not followed and neither is the statutory social service complaints policy based on the statutory welsh "Listening & Learning" guidance followed."

I have unfortunately had some experience of this: Children's services appear arrogantly confident in their ability to fabricate the most ludicrous 'facts' - confident that they will never he held accountable - taking the complaint to the Welsh Assembly Government served to prove that they (WAG) are either not interested in or not capable of enforcing accountability.