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Ipswich Borough Council redundancy and severance payouts reach almost £1m last year

PUBLISHED: 09:06 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:07 18 September 2017

Ipswich Borough Council's severance and redudancy payouts reached nearly £1m last year. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Ipswich Borough Council's severance and redudancy payouts reached nearly £1m last year. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

Last year’s reorganisation at Ipswich Borough Council cost the authority nearly £1m in redundancy and other severance payments according to the annual accounts.

Several departments at the borough council were reorganised during the last year with a total of 29 people leaving the authority with redundancy or severance packages. Of those 25 took voluntary severance and four faced compulsory redundancy.

The total value of these packages, according to the accounts, was just over £940,000. Three people got severance packages worth more than £100,000 each. Most people who left – 18 out of the 29 – got less than £20,000 in redundancy or severance.

The previous year 14 people left the council with severance packages and the total cost was £376,000.

The reorganisation is expected to save the council hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We did have to go through a fairly significant restructure last year after it became necessary for us to find cuts of £12m over three years.

“The criteria we look at is whether we will be saving more within three years than we have paid out in severance payments. But we obviously also have to be fair to our staff.”

He said it had been necessary to cut some costs as well as look for other finance streams – it is investing in new property as a way of bringing extra revenue into the authority, but admitted the council was “not out of the woods so far as finance is concerned just yet”.

The accounts also confirmed that chief executive Russell Williams is the highest-paid employee at the borough on £99,999 a year after getting a £774 pay rise – below the 1% pay cap.

But Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said it would be questioning the payouts at Wednesday’s council meeting, calling the packages “ridiculously high”.

“IBC have a policy regarding this which goes way above the statutory minimum payments set by the government,” he said.

“There is a cap on statutory payments for redundancy pay of £489 per week, IBC choose to ignore this.”

He added: “In these times of financial constraint and cost cutting how can it be right to pay overly generous redundancy payments that we cannot afford?”

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