Former Cumbria County Council boss who retired at 55 was awarded £411,000 pay-off

Jill Stannard, the former chief executive of Cumbria County Council

Jill Stannard, the former chief executive of Cumbria County Council

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE head of Cumbria County Council retired on a £411,000 benefits package, the authority has today confirmed - 14 months after she left her post.

Former chief executive Jill Stannard stepped down from the £170,000-a-year job last May aged 55 after eight years in the role.

But it provoked a political storm about 'golden goodbyes' for the cash-strapped authority which needs to save £70 million, with Lakes MP Tim Farron calling the decision 'shameful'.

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The £411,000 pay out includes an £87,000 lump sum, her salary for the part of the year she worked and a one-off £297k top-up to her pension pot.

Now it has emerged that the sum, along with the salary, pension and redundancy paid to three other top executives who left the authority in the last year, amounts to a total of £920,310 being paid to all four.

The council has spent the last year declining public calls for Mrs Stannard's pay-off to be revealed.

However, it has today confirmed the sum following the publication online of its annual accounts for 2013-14.

The cash paid to Mrs Stannard, who had a property in Cumbria at the time of her departure, was agreed by a special panel of councillors and is understood to involve a lump sum and pension payments.

Steve Atkinson, of Loppergarth, represents the Is It Fair group in Cumbria, which campaigns against the council tax and who has spent the last year blitzing the authority with emails and Freedom of Information requests.

Mr Atkinson said this morning: "It's an absolute disgrace. A betrayal of the public, it really is. People are forced to pay their Council Tax and this is what happens to it.

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"Nobody is worth that sort of money - many capable people would do it for half that and even less. Let's not forget that this wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been voted for by councillors - this was a democratic decision."

Asked whether the responsibility of the job entitled Mrs Stannard to the sum, Mr Atkinson said: "There are many people in private industry that are very capable CEO's that don't get paid anywhere near that and if they don't do their job they're out or their staff lose their jobs.

"Chief executives of councils can sit there and literally watch the money pouring through the door regardless of how they run it."

Mr Atkinson has also been demanding to know what the council paid to Angela Harwood, its former head of Legal Services; Dominic Harrison, its former fire chief; and to Julia Morrison, the recently-departed director of its troubled Childrens Services, which was found by Ofsted to be ‘inadequate' in June 2013.

Ms Morrison, who earned £125,000-a-year, was on sick leave for four months and left the authority this March to ‘pursue interests outside of the county’, said the authority.

The accounts show that Mrs Harwood was on £50,019-a-year but the cost of her salary, pension and redundancy payment totalled £100,444; Mr Harrison’s salary was £93,937-a-year but cost the council £180,357 to leave; and Ms Morrison was on a £125,000-a-year salary, but it cost the council £228,509 for her to go.

Last year, then Tory council leader Eddie Martin paid tribute to Mrs Stannard's contribution to the authority, saying she had 'worked tirelessly for the people of Cumbria' and had made a 'huge impact on the improvement journey of Cumbria County Council'.

In the last three years, more than 900 council staff have taken or been made redundant and a further 600 posts will go before March 2015 as the authority battles with a reduction in Government funding.

A council statement issued today said: "As we have seen in other major public sector reorganisations, reducing the number of people who work for organisations is never cost-free.

“With respect to local government, these costs are an inevitable consequence of the government’s decision to cut council funding as part of its efforts to balance the nation’s books, and the speed of change needed for the council to reduce its long-term management costs.

“For example, over the last three years, the number of directors and assistant directors at the council has been cut by 40 per cent and the council’s overall workforce has shrunk by a quarter.

“The council has nonetheless planned as prudently as possible for the scale of change that it is being asked to make.

"As part of this process the council has previously set aside dedicated resources to meet the cost of restructuring - much of which is related to pension costs or governed by related legislation. It is from these dedicated resources that that these costs are met.

“These senior management reductions are part of a planned approach which, over the last twelve months alone, has seen the number of corporate directors reduced from five to four, and assistant directors cut from 18 to 16.

"This follows reductions made in previous years and is now being applied to the next tier of management at the council.

“As a result of the senior officer restructuring that these changes are part of, the council will achieve a permanent annual saving of £584,000. There has also been an eight per cent reduction in the number of staff receiving salaries over £50,000 or during 2013/14.

“The full statement of accounts confirm that the council’s total salary costs for all staff have reduced from £357 million in 2012/13 to £355 million in 2013/14.

“The council will continue to change as it becomes an inevitably smaller organisation in the years ahead.”

Current county council chief, Diane Wood, took a £30,000 pay cut to take the job.


 

 

 

Comments (16)

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10:38am Tue 1 Jul 14

SteveISITFAIR says...

For pitys sake guys, get rid off them !
For pitys sake guys, get rid off them ! SteveISITFAIR
  • Score: 8

12:26pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Kent123 says...

" ......the council’s total salary costs for all staff have reduced from £357 million in 2012/13 to £355 million in 2013/14."

WOW! A 0.5% reduction!
" ......the council’s total salary costs for all staff have reduced from £357 million in 2012/13 to £355 million in 2013/14." WOW! A 0.5% reduction! Kent123
  • Score: 11

12:40pm Tue 1 Jul 14

drixhen says...

never mind brussels join the cumbria county council gravy train
never mind brussels join the cumbria county council gravy train drixhen
  • Score: 15

2:38pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Kendal lad says...

I really am in the wrong job.
I really am in the wrong job. Kendal lad
  • Score: 11

2:54pm Tue 1 Jul 14

jd@jdifa.co.uk says...

Disgusting, she was already overpaid and pensioned.
£400,000 would have repaired a few potholes.
Disgusting, she was already overpaid and pensioned. £400,000 would have repaired a few potholes. jd@jdifa.co.uk
  • Score: 18

3:47pm Tue 1 Jul 14

snuggle-bunny says...

nice work if you can get it- just out of curiosity what pay offer has been made to c c c staff this year
nice work if you can get it- just out of curiosity what pay offer has been made to c c c staff this year snuggle-bunny
  • Score: 8

4:57pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Spotty Fish says...

Does anyone know if these kind of payments are in line with the going rates that other councils would pay in the same situation? If not, however wrong it seems, it 's what the market pays, and who wouldn't take it if offered it. If it's way more than other councils pay, then questions need to be asked, and answers given.
Does anyone know if these kind of payments are in line with the going rates that other councils would pay in the same situation? If not, however wrong it seems, it 's what the market pays, and who wouldn't take it if offered it. If it's way more than other councils pay, then questions need to be asked, and answers given. Spotty Fish
  • Score: -4

5:03pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Big Deal says...

I was recently unable to get my new Cumbria Highways resident parking pass as the whole parking argument is still going on so I was gave a temporary one, I then find out everyone who uses one will more than likely have to pay for their pass in future as thats whats been proposed!!

The council is apparently strapped for coin but can pay their own off with ludicrous sums of coin, it's truly outrageous.
I was recently unable to get my new Cumbria Highways resident parking pass as the whole parking argument is still going on so I was gave a temporary one, I then find out everyone who uses one will more than likely have to pay for their pass in future as thats whats been proposed!! The council is apparently strapped for coin but can pay their own off with ludicrous sums of coin, it's truly outrageous. Big Deal
  • Score: 13

6:49pm Tue 1 Jul 14

dancer58 says...

Disgusting beyond belief,should be ashamed to take it !
Disgusting beyond belief,should be ashamed to take it ! dancer58
  • Score: 13

8:37pm Tue 1 Jul 14

spragger says...

When the Tories came in in 2010 we were told all this waste of taxpayers money would stop. They are clearly not short of money if they can bung a 55 yr old nonentity near half a million pounds of our earned incomes.
This is before she gets the taxpayer supplied eye watering pension for probably longer than she worked

Good work if you can get it. Well done Labour
When the Tories came in in 2010 we were told all this waste of taxpayers money would stop. They are clearly not short of money if they can bung a 55 yr old nonentity near half a million pounds of our earned incomes. This is before she gets the taxpayer supplied eye watering pension for probably longer than she worked Good work if you can get it. Well done Labour spragger
  • Score: 13

9:50pm Tue 1 Jul 14

St aveley says...

Beggars belief, give me 12/18 months and I'd go through the council like a dose of salts and get rid of all the worthless, overpaid parasites. It's a joke, makes me sick. I bet she can't believe her luck. I'd bet a large sum of my own money that none of them could achieve a position or salary in the private sector of that magnitude. They couldn't cope in a competitive commercial environment, they'd be off with stress and wanting a duvet day before you could say - Where's my mummy.
Beggars belief, give me 12/18 months and I'd go through the council like a dose of salts and get rid of all the worthless, overpaid parasites. It's a joke, makes me sick. I bet she can't believe her luck. I'd bet a large sum of my own money that none of them could achieve a position or salary in the private sector of that magnitude. They couldn't cope in a competitive commercial environment, they'd be off with stress and wanting a duvet day before you could say - Where's my mummy. St aveley
  • Score: 17

11:20pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Christine Melsom says...

Yes spotty fish they do, but not all are as generous as Cumbria CC. Very few, if any, pay statutory redundancy terms. Because some of these people retired early the public have to pay the pension strain to cover pension contributions, for employees and employers until normal retirement age. Many of these people will take other jobs in state employment and will be capable of building up yet another pension pot and should they retire..............
.. the whole thing could start again.
Why should you and I fund overgenerous redundancy pay and over generous pensions for these 'elite employees? While the public on the whole struggle to keep their heads above water, these people can live of the fat of the land all at our expense.
So, there was a time when state employees were underpaid, that was the reason for the gold plated pension, but that no longer applies. There is no one in local government receiving the minimum wage, whereas thousands paying their salaries are.
The councils claim that they are struggling - I don't believe they are. Their pips are not yet squeaking and they have some way to go before they do. What reserves do these councils hold and why? Many councils have increased their reserves over the past four years. Are they squirreling this money away in preparation for goodies on offer before the next election?
This Government has managed to keep council tax under control, but will any future Government do the same?
Yes spotty fish they do, but not all are as generous as Cumbria CC. Very few, if any, pay statutory redundancy terms. Because some of these people retired early the public have to pay the pension strain to cover pension contributions, for employees and employers until normal retirement age. Many of these people will take other jobs in state employment and will be capable of building up yet another pension pot and should they retire.............. .. the whole thing could start again. Why should you and I fund overgenerous redundancy pay and over generous pensions for these 'elite employees? While the public on the whole struggle to keep their heads above water, these people can live of the fat of the land all at our expense. So, there was a time when state employees were underpaid, that was the reason for the gold plated pension, but that no longer applies. There is no one in local government receiving the minimum wage, whereas thousands paying their salaries are. The councils claim that they are struggling - I don't believe they are. Their pips are not yet squeaking and they have some way to go before they do. What reserves do these councils hold and why? Many councils have increased their reserves over the past four years. Are they squirreling this money away in preparation for goodies on offer before the next election? This Government has managed to keep council tax under control, but will any future Government do the same? Christine Melsom
  • Score: 9

1:57pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Little Lee says...

CCC should be utterly ashamed, but no, it's the usual story! public money.
These councils are in themselves, waste machines. I have seen first hand,
the (common practice that was) of new tools ie; shovels, spades and picks etc going out on a fresh job when the old ones just needed cleaning up.
I have on occasion, to go past Millness Highways depot Nr Crooklands.
Regularly sitting there idle, are 4-6 Highways agency 4-wheel drive Landrover Discoveries at, God knows what cost. What goes through my mind is, what or where are the drivers and what are they doing?
Apparently, (by making discrete enquiries) a contractor goes there to clean the vehicles and, they also have people cleaning their offices.
SO! what do they do and, how much is it costing us?
CCC should be utterly ashamed, but no, it's the usual story! public money. These councils are in themselves, waste machines. I have seen first hand, the (common practice that was) of new tools ie; shovels, spades and picks etc going out on a fresh job when the old ones just needed cleaning up. I have on occasion, to go past Millness Highways depot Nr Crooklands. Regularly sitting there idle, are 4-6 Highways agency 4-wheel drive Landrover Discoveries at, God knows what cost. What goes through my mind is, what or where are the drivers and what are they doing? Apparently, (by making discrete enquiries) a contractor goes there to clean the vehicles and, they also have people cleaning their offices. SO! what do they do and, how much is it costing us? Little Lee
  • Score: 4

11:25am Fri 4 Jul 14

drixhen says...

Iam not sticking up for c.c.c little lee but the Highway Agency has nothing to
do with cumbria county council (motorway)
Iam not sticking up for c.c.c little lee but the Highway Agency has nothing to do with cumbria county council (motorway) drixhen
  • Score: 1

5:11pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Little Lee says...

drixhen wrote:
Iam not sticking up for c.c.c little lee but the Highway Agency has nothing to
do with cumbria county council (motorway)
It's a CCC Highways depot at Millness.
[quote][p][bold]drixhen[/bold] wrote: Iam not sticking up for c.c.c little lee but the Highway Agency has nothing to do with cumbria county council (motorway)[/p][/quote]It's a CCC Highways depot at Millness. Little Lee
  • Score: -1

5:17pm Sat 12 Jul 14

drixhen says...

part of it only belongs to the county council the rest belongs to the highways agency which is a different department
part of it only belongs to the county council the rest belongs to the highways agency which is a different department drixhen
  • Score: 0

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