Leeds City Council: Director in row over letter

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A director of a Leeds Council house management board has been accused of a “breach of confidence” in a row over pay rises.

Maurice Scott is a tenants’ representative on West North West Homes, one of three arm’s length management organisations (ALMOs) which run 50,000 Council houses on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Mr Scott, 79, said he was informed by WNW Homes Remuneration Committee that the salary of its chief executive was being increased through re-grading to £88,000 - an increase of more than five per cent.

The salaries of two other senior managers were also to be increased by placing them on a higher grade.

They are the head of property investment and the head of tenancy management and customer services.

Mr Scott said: “I knew that everyone else at WNW Homes were subject to a pay freeze. I decided to write to the leader of Leeds City Council Keith Wakefield about it.”

He e-mailed a complaint to Councillor Wakefield giving details of the increases. He also sent them to the council chief whip Councillor Peter Gruen.

Councillor Gruen forwarded the e-mail to the chair of WNW Homes Cathy Clelland, who wrote to Mr Scott.

The letter said: “As a board director you are aware that the detail referred to in your e-mail is confidential and was reported to the Board on 22 February 2011 as a confidential update.”

The letter said the increases were to do with equal pay, not annual salary increases.

Mr Scott then received a letter from WNW Homes “governance manager” Peter Catterick saying there had been “an alleged breach of Section 5 of the Code of Conduct of Directors (disclosure of confidential information and general obligations).” It said an enquiry was being conducted, and invited him to a meeting of a Standards Panel. Mr Scott has refused to attend the hearing.

Cathy Clelland chair of the West North West Homes board, said: “These salary changes have been made to ensure these posts are paid at the same rate as the equivalent positions in the city’s other housing ALMOs.”

She added: “To ensure we maintain high standards of governance we ask our board of directors to sign a code of conduct. Our standards committee is currently investigating an alleged breach of this code.”

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