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27.03.15

Councils gain power to dismiss senior officers through vote

The government has passed new legislation that will allow senior officers in local authorities to be dismissed by a vote of the full council.

Included in the change are Section 151 officers and those holding other senior posts in local government.

Under the previous system, councils were required to appoint a ‘designated independent person’ to review cases before senior officers holding statutory positions were dismissed.

The cost of the review process is estimated to be at least £100,000 in legal fees, not including independent investigation and salary for the suspended employee. Local government minister Kris Hopkins cited one previous case that cost £420,000 and took 16 months to adjudicate.

“Slow and costly bureaucracy requires councils to appoint a ‘designated independent person’, usually a Queen’s Counsel, to review dismissal and disciplinary cases for chief executives,” he said. “Councils seeking to dismiss a chief executive for misconduct or poor performance have in some cases paid out inflated lump sums to avoid the cost of taking this bureaucratic route.”

Hopkins added: “Ministers believe decisions by full council ensure proper democratic accountability, without the need for a centrally dictated process.”

Under the new regime, council officers holding statutory positions can be dismissed by a council vote.

“The reforms give councils the power to decide on the best disciplinary process that will deliver value for money for local taxpayers, whilst retaining independent scrutiny and accountability to local people,” Hopkins said.

PSE asked the LGA, Unison and Solace for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Bill   30/03/2015 at 12:43

So lets hand over a terms and conditions of employment matter to a group of politically motivated Councillors seeking revenge for some issue they felt wasnt dealt with the way they wanted. You couldnt make it up if you tried. Another Pickles irrelevance

Bill Paid   13/04/2015 at 18:14

I know of one Surrey council where this may be implemented as soon as.

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