MP attacks council after sacking of children's boss
MP Tessa Munt has this week attacked Somerset County Council for
paying 'ludicrously large sums' to its managers.
comments come after we reported
here last week that Somerset County Council had terminated
the contract of its interim Director of Childrens Services
Peter Lewis following a series of disappointing reports into some
of the Councils Childrens Homes and Childrens
Centres. He was recruited via an agency and the total cost per
year including agency fees was £318,500.
pictured, said: "Im pleased that the Conservative
leader of Somerset County Council has finally accepted it was
not right to pay such ludicrously large sums to his managers."
and young people placed into care, through no fault of their own,
have a right to be safe and secure. Those of us who pay our taxes
have a right to know that these children and young people are
looked after in ways that meet the highest standards of care.
The real problem in Somerset was, and remains, a lack of frontline
staff whose job it is to identify children and young people who
are at risk."
emergency meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday this week to
approve the Council's new Human Resources policy. Having read
the documents, Im staggered to find that the Conservative-controlled
Council has not made any of the changes necessary to stop the
very practice that drew such enormous criticism from Conservative
Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, who slammed
the situation as 'an outrageous use of public money' and 'an abuse
Council has failed to publish its current policy in the papers
for this meeting or on its website where you would expect to find
it, so its impossible to identify exactly what changes are
added: "Im unclear why the Conservatives are bothering
to present a new policy when it doesnt deal with the main
problem, which is using huge amounts of taxpayers' money - firstly,
to fund managers without any element of performance-related pay
and, secondly, using contracts which mean that individuals can
avoid paying income tax and making National Insurance Contributions
as every other member of staff would have to."
Mr Lewis departure from his post as Director of Children's
Services was announced last Friday, I submitted the following
question to the County Council which, depending on my commitments
in Parliament, I will ask at the Extraordinary Full Council on
Wednesday. If I am unable to be at the meeting, I understand the
question will nonetheless be dealt with in my absence."
question will be: 'What measures has the Leader of Somerset County
Council taken to respond to the advice given by Eric Pickles,
the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government,
in response to the question in Parliament from David Heath MP,
namely that payment of public servants through the use of Personal
Services Companies is 'an abuse of process' and the cost of the
managers of Somersets Childrens Services is 'outrageous''?"