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Search for new council chief executive to restart as Roger Parkin prepares to leave role

Only the legal requirement will be paid in the redundancy package of the interim chief executive of Slough Borough Council (SBC) when he leaves at the end of this month, the council has said.

Roger Parkin was made interim chief executive of SBC following Ruth Bagley’s departure, who left in Christmas 2016.

He had looked set to be appointed permanent chief executive by former council leader Cllr Sohail Munawar, but councillors voted against the move at a meeting on Tuesday, November 28, amid concerns over the transparency of the recruitment process and Mr Parkin’s performance and behaviour.

Cllr Munawar resigned as leader at the same meeting before Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) was chosen to take his place.

Councillors at a full council meeting last night (Tuesday) voted in favour of Mr Parkin’s temporary position as interim chief executive to come to an end on Sunday, December 31.

He had offered to stay on while Cllr Swindlehurst’s new leadership planned arrangements for a new recruitment process.

At the meeting, Cllr Anna Wright (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill) blamed the situation on ‘weeks of political fights’ and ‘tantrums’ from Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central), who publicly slammed Mr Parkin’s appointment in October.

Cllr Hussain made a formal objection before Cllr Swindlehurst said: “We have had a situation where some relationships have broken down. Things have been particularly difficult.”

He mentioned fears about the prospect of the Local Government Association stepping in to relinquish SBC of responsibilities due to its turbulence.

“I am simply trying to take the steps to move this local authority forward,” he added.

“I certainly haven’t enjoyed a number of things I’ve had to do in my first few days in the role.”

Under arrangements approved last night, SBC’s director of finance and resources will be authorised to appoint an interim chief executive from January following a consultation with the leaders of Slough’s Labour and Conservative groups and UKIP’s Cllr Diana Coad (Langley).

Council directors will rotate the responsibility after Mr Parkin leaves until another interim is appointed.

SBC anticipates the interim chief executive staying for up to six months while an agency hunts for a permanent candidate.

Under plans approved at Tuesday’s meeting, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development will be tasked with carrying out a review of 2017’s appointment process which will be used to inform the next one.

Councillors discussed Mr Parkin’s redundancy package in part two of the meeting, which the press and public were excluded from.

One member of the audience initially refused to leave, protesting that the payment was in the public interest.

“We're going to pay the price,” he argued.

SBC will not reveal Mr Parkin’s severance sum, however a council spokeswoman said he will be offered ‘the same statutory redundancy package offered to any employee of Slough Borough Council’ and no additional payments.

The meeting took place at Chalvey Community Centre in Chalvey Road.

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  • be_ transparent

    16:04, 21 December 2017

    The council knows there is no backing in Slough for paying large severance payouts to council employees, whilst people are homeless and services are being cut. It continues to pay these severance payouts, and appears to not be doing anything about changing these terms. It goes to great lengths to keep even the discussions and the details of these payments secret, despite it being the publics money and it being in the public interest for there to be transparency on these matters. My questions are :- When a public organisation repeatedly spends large amounts of the publics money in a way that it does not consent to, at what point is it judged that the organisation has become 'institutionally corrupt' ? Who is responsible for dealing with 'institutionally corrupt' public organisations ?

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  • Sophie Wright

    17:05, 20 December 2017

    Why should he get any kind of pay off? If his conduct had been investigated as it should, he might be facing dismissal for gross misconduct. He has been responsible for the dismissal of whistle blowers with considerably less justification.

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