People’s Audit – Seven SALARIES AND REDUNDANCIES: “WE WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO TELL YOU HOW MANY PEOPLE LAMBETH HAVE MADE REDUNDANT BUT IT SEEMS THAT NOT EVEN LAMBETH KNOW THEMSELVES.”
On 8th February 2016 Lambeth council passed its budget. In presenting the budget, deputy leader of the council Paul McGlone stated, “It is with a heavy heart that we sit around as the cabinet to recommend a very, very tough budget for Lambeth… We now have 1,000 fewer staff than we had in 2010. We will have to take out more people… We need to make tough choices.”
The detail paints a rather different picture. We would like to be able to tell you how many people Lambeth made redundant but it seems that not even Lambeth know themselves.
The draft accounts issued on 30th June 2016 state that in 2015/2016 Lambeth made 744 staff redundant. Of these 593 were earning £20,000 or less. The cost of this redundancy exercise is stated as being £10.3M (some higher earners received £80,000 + exit packages).
Strangely, less than three months later when the audited accounts were issued on 29th September 2016, the number of redundancies had changed to 494 at a cost of £7.5M.
This lack of accuracy is a continuing theme that we came across during our audit.
What the cabinet report didn’t say was at the same time Lambeth increased the number of senior managers (earning £50,000-£150,000) by 88 (according to the draft accounts) or 91 (according to the audited accounts).
This adds back at least another £5,500,000 onto the annual wage bill. We know that some of this would be due to staff being transferred back into the council following the termination of Lambeth’s arms’ length housing management organisation, Lambeth Living.
But this is not the whole story.
For example, of the four new appointments made in 2015/2016 with salaries exceeding £100,000, only one of these was transferred from Lambeth Living.
Bizarrely, although the number of staff decreased substantially Lambeth’s spending on recruitment advertising more than doubled in the year to £675,000.
We also noted that the number of agency workers employed through Lambeth’s principal provider even after the round of redundancies in 2015/2016, is still 25 per cent higher than it was in 2012.
The tough choices did not extend to two of Lambeth’s highest earners who both received one pc pay rises, taking their salaries to £153,711 (more than the prime minister).
Nor, it would seem did the tough choices extend to councillors, as the overall amount paid to them in allowances rose £110,000 in the year to £1,267,000. (Source: Lambeth Peoples’ Audit report).