The top three tiers of management at Folkestone & Hythe District Council (F&HDC) have been handsomely rewarded for their failure to manage and oversee the Swale Heating contract, the M & R contract and the P & R contract which has led to investigations by the Health & Safety Executive, the Regulator of Social Housing, HQM, GRC and F&HDC into themselves. And who could forget the records they have broken, such as temporary staff costs, having the highest council tax for sixteen years, soon to be seventeen and more.
It is known at the last Personnel Committe on the 13th June 2019 (Item 8) the new pay and grading structure for Head of Paid Service, Corporate Directors and Assistant Directors set out in the report, it be agreed to reward the Head of Paid Service, Dr Susan Priest, a £30,000 plus salary increase. Her two trusted lieutenants, John Bunnett Director of Development & Tim Madden,Director of Transition and Transformation will receive about £7,000 pay rise.
The senior management of F&HDC are –
Head of Paid Service
This pay rise is to take effect from the next payroll at the end of June 2019.
(the top three lines of boxes in the chart below)
It is known they will receive this annual increase “to ensure that the Council is positioned to remain competitive in attracting and retaining talented officers now and in future years”, who appear unable to manage contracts very well.
It was known in Dec 2016 that there were significant issues with the 5/10 yearly electrical inspection programme which was severely delayed by 85% across Canterbury City Council and Shepway District Council housing stock (now F&HDC) and 63% at Dover District Council. And now electrical issues have raised there head again less than 30 months later.
In 2016/17 the Swale Heating contract for Gas Heating & Servicing was not renewed due to “performance related issues“.
Then came M & R who we reported on not once, but twice as there were significant allegations of overcharging in 2018.
And now the P & R overcharging issue and the Landlord Gas Safety Requirements (Gas Safety Certificates). Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s contract with P & R is slightly different to the other three authorities of Canterbury, Dover & Thanet Councils.
Now if we just take a £30,000 pound rise for the Head of Paid Service – Dr Susan Priest (pictured) who in 18/19 earned £111,994 and will receive approx £141,994 plus, which is a 26% increase. However we supect she’ll get closer to £150,000 meaning a rise of 33 or 34%. Meanwhile staff on much lower grades will need to be satisfied with just a simple 2% increase. It is quite remarkable how failure is being rewarded. And those elected Cllrs responsible for voting unanimously to reward their failure was:
Cllr Ann Berry – (Con)
Cllr Danny Brook – (Con)
Cllr Terence Mullard – (UKIP)
We have come to expect public exclusion from Council meetings under Tory rule. However, the Green Party who stood partly on a platform of openness and transparency, allowed, without a whimper, the exclusion of the public from the meeting on the 13th June, even though many of us would like to know how some of the Senior Management at F&HDC are being rewarded for their failings to oversee contracts properly.
Some senior management are directly responsible for the Gas Safety Certificate fiasco and the overcharging on the M & R and P & R contracts. They have been rewarded with up to £10,000 pound on their annual salary, or an 8.9% pay rise.
The Green Party and Labour Party want to make the Council more open and transparent and give the people what they want. If that is the case, then actions speak louder than words.
In the future we hope to see both parties challenge holding meetings behind closed doors more robustly. On this occasion the Greens & Labour, along with their Tory colleagues, assisted in rewarding failure by voting for the substantial increase in salary for some senior management members by 5 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions.
The Shepwayvox Team
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