National and Devolved Politics

08.06.18

Bankrupt council’s departing LGSS boss handed £66k retirement pay-off

The managing director of the Local Government Shared Services (LGSS) jointly run by the struggling Northamptonshire County Council – which is now under the leadership of government commissioners after being effectively considered bankrupt – was handed a £66,000 pay-off for his retirement, recent accounts show.

John Kane went into early retirement in March after five years in charge. Northamptonshire council’s draft accounts for 2017-18 showed he was given the extra cash on top of a £152,000 salary.

The draft accounts showed that Kane was given £30,000 for a loss of office payment and a £33,000 payment in lieu of notice.

But a spokesman for the LGSS, which looks after a number of services for Northamptonshire, explained: “The former managing director for LGSS retired in March at an earlier point than was planned.

“The partner councils – Cambridgeshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council – were planning a review of LGSS and agreed an earlier timescale for this and subsequently the retirement was taken earlier. The payments were in recognition of this.”

The LGSS is a body formed in 2010 and funded by Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, and Milton Keynes councils overseeing a budget of around £85m. It employs around 1,600 staff members to provide services in business systems, finance, HR and payroll, and procurement amongst other services.

In the Best Value report which recommended that the Northamptonshire county authority be abolished, government inspector Max Caller heavily criticised the shared services organisation, arguing that there are “a number of areas where the relationship with LGSS at best confuses accountability and at worst prevents it.”

“There appears to be little strategic capacity for strategic thinking on support service within the council with the expectation that is it discharged by staff in LGSS. That could work if the council had strong commissioning, but that is not apparent,” Caller wrote.

Last week Northamptonshire County Council announced the search for a new CEO after a tumultuous last number of months. Last month government commissioners were sent into the authority to improve operations.

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