Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
11.1 Further to the discussion at the meeting of the Committee on 20 January 2020, the Committee considered a report by the Interim Head of Human Resources and Organisational Change and the Director of Law and Assurance on the arrangements for decisions on severance payments for senior officers (copy appended to the signed minutes).
11.2 Cllr Walsh commented that the Council should follow the guidance in the Localism Act 2011 and refer such settlements to full Council for approval, rather than involving just the Cabinet Member for Finance. He therefore put forward the following proposal which was seconded by Cllr Jones:
‘That the Governance Committee recommends to the County Council that the Council follows government guidance from the Localism Act 2011 that officer severance payments over £100,000 should be determined by the full Council.’
11.3 Cllr Jones commented in relation to the options put forward in paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 of the report that neither option, as currently drafted, gave full Council or minority party involvement.
11.4 The Leader agreed that any significant settlement should have member involvement. However, in his view with full Council meetings being two months’ apart and as any debate on a settlement would need to be held in Part II, such an option would be impractical. Either of the options put forward in the report would be acceptable to him and his understanding was that option A would include a minority party member.
11.5 Cllr Lanzer commented that he felt that the requirements in the 2011 Localism Act were ill conceived and was guidance only. He understood that none of the neighbouring upper tier councils took such decisions to their full council meeting. He therefore proposed that the Committee should adopt option A but that the Chairman of the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee should be included within the panel of members. The proposal was seconded by Cllr Bradbury. Cllr Lanzer accepted a suggestion by Cllr Walsh that the proposal should also include one minority party member to give a proposal as follows:
‘Option A: In cases where the officer subject to a proposal for severance is a member of the Corporate Leadership Team and where the value of any severance is expected to exceed £100,000 it is suggested that the matter is considered (excluding any officer subject of the severance) by the Chief Executive, the Monitoring Officer and the Chief Finance Officer and that the proposal is then presented to a panel of three to five members of the Governance Committee, to include the Chairman, the Chairman of the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee and at least one minority party member.’
11.6 On the broader issue of contractual terms, the Director of Law and Assurance said that contracts for senior officers were approved by the Appointing Committee. If the Appointing Committee felt the terms and conditions of contract were a matter of concern it could refer it to the Governance Committee whose role it was to oversee staff terms and conditions.
11.7 The proposal by Cllr Walsh seconded by Cllr Jones, as set out at minute 11.2, was put to the vote and lost.
11.8 The proposal by Cllr Lanzer seconded by Cllr Bradbury, as set out at minute 11.5, was put to the vote and carried.
11.9 Resolved – That Option A, as amended and set out at minute 11.5 above, be approved as a change to the current policy on officer severance payments for inclusion in the terms of reference of the Member Panel in the Scheme of Delegation.
Publication date: 26/06/2020
Date of decision: 22/06/2020
Decided at meeting: 22/06/2020 - Governance Committee