Teignbridge: “Husband and wife given £200,000 ‘golden handshake’ when they left council”

“Husband and wife duo Neil and Sue Aggett left their posts at Teignbridge in 2018 and details revealed in the statement of accounts that have now been published on the council’s website reveal the pair received more than £200,000 as compensation for the loss of their employment

Two senior council officers who left Teignbridge District Council via voluntary redundancy as part of a major management reshuffle were given a more than £200,000 ‘golden handshake’, it can be revealed.

Husband and wife duo Neil and Sue Aggett left their posts at the council in 2018 after a combined nearly 60 years of service.

Mrs Aggett, who earned more than £80,000 a year, was the business lead for environment, health and wellbeing. She had spent more than 22 years working at the council.

Mr Aggett, who was the monitoring officer and democratic services manager for the council, had worked for the council for 37 years.

Details revealed in the statement of accounts that have now been published on the council’s website reveal the pair received more than £200,000 as compensation for the loss of their employment.

Mrs Aggett, as council director, was paid £123,586 as compensation for the loss of her employment, plus £8,468 as salary for the work she did between April 1 and April 30 when her employment ceased, and £1,236 in pension contributions, for a total of £133,298.

Mr Aggett, as monitoring officer, was paid £81,288 as compensation for the loss of his employment, plus £16,281 as salary for the work he did between April 1 and June 30 when his employment ceased, and £2,377 in pension contributions, for a total of £100,273.

Questions had previously been asked of the council as to the details of their pay-offs, including by Cllr Liam Mullone, leader of the Newton Says No group of councillors, when he called for full public disclosure regarding the reported large payments made to the pair at May’s annual council meeting.

In response, Cllr Alan Connett, the new portfolio holder for corporate resources, said that he could not reveal the details at that stage as the information in relation to exit packages for employees was exempt from disclosure and could not be revealed at that stage due to the agreements signed as part of their departures.

He added though that the details of the exit packages would be provided in the annual accounts under the Accounts and Audit Regulations, which has now taken place.

Cllr Connett at the council meeting also added: “We will be looking at whether in future we can adopt an open approach in Teignbridge and were we to have future instances of to achieving efficiencies via redundancies, we would want there to be public knowledge of those payments upfront.”

He added that if in future they had to say goodbye to more staff in the interest of efficiency and to save money, it would only be done is there would be a long term saving made and that they would try and be open and transparent about payments.

Phil Shears, the council’s managing director, had said last year that he was restructuring the management of the council which in the long term would save money, which would in turn ‘benefit local tax payers by keeping tax increases low.

He took over as the managing director of the council at the start of 2018 following the departure of former CEO Nicola Bulbeck.

She was given a £264,000 pay-off when she left her role after an 11-year stint in June 2017 including an award of £173,000 as ‘compensation for loss of employment’.

Her leaving package was initially kept secret from the public and the council turned down a Freedom of Information request to release the figures, but was revealed in the 2017/18 statement of accounts.

Mr Shears’s salary when he was appointed was in the range between £94,656 – £105,168 – a 25 per cent reduction on the £141,972 remuneration in the 2015/16 financial year that Ms Bulbeck was paid.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/husband-wife-given-200000-golden-2972079

Is our Local Enterprise Partnership attempting to hi-jack housing and infrastructure funding and control?

Yet another attempt by this unelected bunch of conflicted business people to suck up funding meant for local councils:

“…
Recommendations
2.1. 1.
That the Joint Committee pursue an area-based package to accelerate housing delivery which, at headline level, should include:

a. Resourcing of a strategic delivery team (capacity funding)
b. A major infrastructure delivery fund to unlock growth
c. A small schemes liquidity fund to bring forward stalled sites

2. That the proposed package as set out in appendix 1 is agreed as an
appropriate package to accelerate housing delivery across the HotSW
geography.

3. That the proposed package as set out in appendix 1 is used by officers as
the basis for future engagement with central government and its agencies in seeking to secure a bespoke deal for the HotSW area to structurally embed collaboration with central government on housing delivery.

4. That the Task Force seeks to now engage with senior figures within both Homes England and the MHCLG Growth and Delivery Unit to understand their appetite for driving growth and willingness to work with the Joint Committee on some kind of housing deal.

5. That the Task Force brings back any updates or progress to the Joint Committee to consider in due course.”

https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/documents/s26163/HotSW%20JC%20-%20Housing%20Task%20Force%20report.pdf

The appendix on pages 5 and 6 is particularly worrying.

And where does this leave the (stalled due to political changes) Greater Exeter Strategic Plan?

Police advertise for (unpaid) forensic service volunteers (criminal record not a barrier)

“West Midlands police have defended their decision to use volunteers for forensics work after being warned that it was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

The force was criticised after advertising unpaid roles in its digital forensics team, with an advert that warned volunteers would “routinely come across distressing imagery including indecent images, fatal road traffic accidents, live CCTV footage recovery of incidents”.

The force said it was looking for people to commit at least 16 hours a month to the role and said that a criminal record was not a barrier to volunteering. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/13/police-force-defends-use-of-volunteers-to-do-forensics-work?

Why is Exmouth Regeneration Board chaired by a Cranbrook councillor?

Exmouth Regeneration Board
Membership

Councillor Megan Armstrong (Vice-Chairman [Exmouth Halsdon]
Councillor Kevin Blakey (Chairman, Cranbrook)
Councillor Susie Bond [Feniton]
Councillor Nick Hookway [Exmouth Littleham]
Councillor Chris Wright [Exmouth Littleham]

https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk//mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?

“Help to Buy: ‘Most users did not need help report finds’ “

“Almost two-thirds of homebuyers who used the government’s Help to Buy scheme could have bought a home without it, an official report has said.
However, they may not have been able to buy the house they wanted without the help, the report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found.

It also found that one in 25 of participants had household incomes of over £100,000.

The scheme did help boost the profits of building firms, the NAO said.

It was too early to determine if the scheme had delivered value for money for the taxpayer, the report said.

“Help To Buy has increased home ownership and housing supply, particularly for first-time buyers,” Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said.
“However, a proportion of participants could have afforded to buy a home without the government’s help.

“The scheme has also exposed the government to significant market risk if property values fall, as well as tying up a significant public financial capacity.

“The government’s greatest challenge now is to wean the property market off the scheme with as little impact as possible on its ambition of creating 300,000 homes a year by 2021,” he said.

By 2023, the government will have invested up to £29bn in the scheme, tying up cash which cannot be used elsewhere,” the NAO said.

Bigger firms made the most of the scheme.

Between 2013 and 2018 more than half the sales in England made by Redrow, Bellway, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt and Persimmon involved Help to Buy.

‘Housing bubble’

Persimmon is the biggest beneficiary, with almost 15% of the sales made under the Help to Buy Scheme.

Persimmon saw its annual profits top £1bn last year.

Mike Amey, managing director of global investment management firm Pimco, has told the BBC that profit on a house sold by Persimmon had trebled since Help to Buy was introduced, “roughly from £20,000 to £60,000”.

Fran Boait, executive director of campaigning body Positive Money, said: “It’s now beyond clear that rather than helping those who can’t afford to buy a home, Help To Buy has mainly been a subsidy for a housing bubble, benefiting property developers and existing home owners.”

The government’s investment is expected to be returned from the scheme by 2032 after it closes in 2023. However, the size of the loans mean it is very much exposed to the performance of the housing market.

From April 2021, the scheme will be restricted just to first-time buyers.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48610977