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Staff paid £459k to leave jobs with Lincolnshire County Council

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

Lincolnshire County Council offices

Twenty employees have signed compromise agreements with Lincolnshire County Council over the last 12 months

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More than £450,000 was paid to county council staff so they would agree to leave their jobs.

The bulk of the cash was paid to teachers who had previously been off work on long-term sick leave.

Twenty employees have signed compromise agreements with Lincolnshire County Council over the last 12 months.

Between them, they were paid £459,806.

A total of £317,147 of that was paid out in 14 cases involving school staff.

The remaining £142,659 was paid out in five children's service cases and one resource and community safety issue.

The council says the cost for all school compromise agreements has been met from either the school redundancy budget held within the children's services department or from within each school's budget.

Martin Purnell, the head of workforce strategy at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "With issues such as long-term sickness, a compromise agreement can be the most cost-effective way to bring things to a close.

"However, before such an agreement can be reached, it must be shown that this approach offers taxpayers the best value for money.

"These agreements are rarely used, but do help us balance the need for an effective workforce with employment law and good HR practice. In the past year, six members of council staff have left under a compromise agreement – a fraction of our 4,500 employees.

"We continue to tightly monitor their use and over the last four years we have seen a drop in the number of such agreements."

A compromise agreement is a specific type of contract between an employer and its employee, or former employee, under which the employee receives consideration, often a negotiated financial sum, in exchange for agreeing that they will have no further claim against the employer.

The leader of the opposition at Lincolnshire County Council, Marianne Overton, has stressed the importance for greater transparency in the compromise agreement process.

She said: "The biggest difficulty we have as opposition councillors is that we are prevented from knowing who receives this money and how much they get.

"Almost half a million pounds in one year is a lot of money and so I've asked the chief executive of the council and the leader to give me a breakdown on the figures but they can't.

"As an opposition, how are we supposed to hold the authority to account?

"This needs to be transparent, because we are talking a lot of money.

"Until we know how much is being paid to who and why, we cannot understand whether the money being paid is fully justified. It really is a major concern."

A former languages teacher at North Kesteven School in North Hykeham, councillor John Marriott, said: "There are more stress-related issues in the teaching profession than there used to be.

"There aren't many teachers that see it through right to the end of their working life.

"But 20 cases in a year from all of those teachers out there isn't that bad. It does not surprise me.

"If a teacher can demonstrate an ill health issue then there is not much the council can do about it."

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  November 09 2012, 11:44PM

    If twenty employees have signed agreements over the past 12 months, but only six have left, are we still paying 14 people who have taken cash to leave but stayed on? Surely this could not be a flaw in Echo journalism, so Martin Purnell has a question to answer?

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  November 09 2012, 11:39PM

    And I presume you disapprove of payments to ex-service personnel discharged due to long-term illness, Armyoldsweat? Have you told the British Legion?

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  • InsideStory  |  November 09 2012, 6:32PM

    Plenty of B-S comes out of the forces .

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  • Armyoldsweat  |  November 09 2012, 3:00PM

    Good Heavens, the longest screed of flowery waffle I can recall. During my army career we had another twin-syllable phrase for flowery waffle which slips my mind for the moment...... I think it began with B-S.

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  • Roadscource  |  November 09 2012, 10:50AM

    "A less than a year's wage paid to 20 long term sick teachers to resign rather to remain on the books (paid) on the sick might actually save the county money in the long run" Why not keep them on the books until death like they do in the House of Commons?

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  • M_C_Donald  |  November 09 2012, 10:40AM

    A less than a year's wage paid to 20 long term sick teachers to resign rather to remain on the books (paid) on the sick might actually save the county money in the long run.

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  • screenman  |  November 09 2012, 7:29AM

    A slap in the face for many of us in the real world of employment or self employment.

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