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Opposition councillors demand greater scrutiny over council severance packages

James Hockaday

Calls have been made by Slough Borough Council’s Conservative group to place greater public scrutiny on ‘exit packages’ for staff leaving Slough Borough Council (SBC).

The group has submitted a motion for a full council meeting on Thursday (September 28) proposing full council approve all redundancy or severance packages for council staff which total £60,000 or more.

In a statement, Conservative group leader Councillor Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: “We are concerned about the growing number of exit packages which are negotiated ‘behind closed doors’ without effective scrutiny from elected members.

“We want to curb any future financial risks both to the council and to Slough taxpayers, especially at this timely stage of SBC’s senior management restructuring process.”

In December 2016 the council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the severance pay of former chief executive Ruth Bagley, who held the council’s top position for more than nine years.

The press and public were excluded from the meeting.

The Express was also refused permission to attend her disciplinary hearing on August 16, 2016, under parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, which concerns disclosing information about an individual and revealing the identity of an individual.

In August this year, the council posted an advertisement for a new chief executive with a salary ranging from £133,869 to £160,645.

Several senior members of staff have resigned this year, including SBC’s head of legal services, Amardip Healy, who quit in July.

Gurpreet Anand, who previously held the statutory post as SBC’s monitoring officer, also handed in his resignation in July as assistant director of procurement and commercial services.

Next week’s meeting will take place on Thursday at The Curve in William Street from 7pm.

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