West Yorkshire council spent £130,000 on redundancy package for one employee

Wakefield Council spent £130,000 on an exit package for one employee during the last financial year.

By David Spereall
Sunday, 2nd August 2020, 4:45 pm
130,000 was spent on an 'exit package' for one employee, accounts reveal. Picture: Adobe Stock.
130,000 was spent on an 'exit package' for one employee, accounts reveal. Picture: Adobe Stock.

Most of the payout was handed to a senior accountant who took voluntary redundancy at the local authority between April 2019 and March 2020.

The council’s draft statement of accounts, which have been published online, revealed more than £1.2m was spent on the departures of 57 members of staff during the course of the year.

The costs include pension contributions as well as lump sums handed to employees on their way out.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Only four of the departures were compulsory redundancies, but on each of those occasions the council paid out less than £20,000 a head.

The council’s chief finance officer Neil Warren said: “A large part of the Council’s budget is staffing costs and this was part of a multi-year budget saving strategy.

“Exit packages help to reduce future long-term costs overall.”

The council has also said in previous years that voluntary redundancies are often cheaper than compulsory redundancies, because of the lengthy consultation process involved with the latter.

The statement of accounts also revealed that 20 council employees over the age of 55 had agreed to take flexible retirement.

Although this means an increase in pension contributions from the taxpayer, the document said the move would deliver overall savings because of the reduction in the wage bill.

In the previous three years, the council has given out individual pay-offs of £174,000 and £165,000 to departing staff.