Tuesday, 18 April 2017

North Lanarkshire News

North Lanarkshire Council's annual accounts for 2015/16 contain a Remuneration Report which includes the following statement on 'exit packages':

"The cost included in the exit packages will be those termination benefits which include all relevant redundancy costs including compulsory and voluntary redundancy costs, pension contributions in respect of added years, ex gratia payments and other departure costs."

The cost of the 'leaving package' for NLC's executive director of financial services Alistair Crichton is shown as £338,325 under the heading 'Compensation for loss of office'.

So there is a reference to 'added years' although no indication of whether added years are a feature of Mr Crichton's leaving package, but elsewhere in the document Mr Crichton's accrued pensions benefits are shown as:

As at 31 March 2016

Pension - £66,260
Lump Sum - £391,322

As at 31 March 2015

Pension - £58,582
Lumo Sum - £136,321

Movement in Year 

Pension - £7,678
Lump Sum - £255,001

In a single year Mr Crichton's lump sum pension benefits seem to have increased by £255,001 which suggest to me that his leaving package has benefited from 'added years, but maybe the way to find out is to submit an FoI request.

One things for sure though - you didn't find too many low paid council workers having their pension payments boosted in this way. 



North Lanarkshire News

The Mail newspaper reported on the big salaries and pay-offs enjoyed by senior council officials the other day.

And what do you know, seems like Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council has gone and knocked Labour-run Glasgow City Council off its No.1 spot (in Scotland at least) with its £486,208 pay package to the executive director of finance, Alistair Crichton.

Now I'm sure there's a logical explanation for these eye watering payments, but it's not the kind of 'badge of honour' I'd like to be wearing in the run up to the local council elections on 4th May.

I must have a look at North Lanarkshire Council's most recent set of annual accounts - I'll bet they contain some interesting information.


Glasgow's Pay Arrangements (25/03/17)

Here's the response I received from Glasgow City Council in response to my FoI request regarding the remuneration package received by Ian Drummond on leaving the council's employment back in 2010-2011.

Now I asked Glasgow City City Council for a breakdown of Mr Drummond's leaving package when his employment ended - the council's full response is reproduced below, but here's my summary of the figures. 
  1. £ 132,051 (Salary fees and allowances)
  2. £ 109,303 (Compensation for loss of office)
  3. £   10.201 (Election duties)
  4. £ 251,555 (Sub Total)
  5. £   56,000 (Annual Pension)
  6. £ 155,000 (Pension lump sum - tax free)
  7. £ 462,555 (Grand Total) 
So it appears that the final leaving package was £462,555 an even greater sum than the £450,628 figure reported originally in The Telegraph newspaper.

An interesting point to note is that 'Election Duties' are normally, in my experience, the responsibility of the council chief executive, but is his final year of service these duties appear to have been passed over to Mr Drummond. 

The payment involved counts for pension purposes and relates to years in which there are local councils elections and other national elections where the City Council is in overall charge of the arrangements acts as the 'returning officer'.

In any event while it's noticeable that Mr Drummond got everything he was entitled in terms of his leaving package, the City Council's lowest paid workers are still having to fight tooth and nail for equal pay.

I've lost count of the number of people who tell me they felt  'pressurised' and 'bullied' into accepting poor equal pay settlement offers (back in December 2005) without knowing what their claims were really worth - which to my mind is at odds with the way the council's lowest paid workers have been treated. 

And while I'm on the subject, I don't recall the trade unions threatening any strikes or  industrial action when the City Council's lowest paid women workers treated in this shabby fashion.

I've already submitted and FoI Review Request to the council in respect of its refusal to say whether or not Mr Drummond's 'leaving package' included additional 'added years'.

The importance of this further FoI request being whether the City Council exercised its discretion to be extra generous towards a highly paid official which may stand in stark contrast to the treatment of its lowest paid, predominantly women, workers in relation to equal pay.