Wandsworth Council's outgoing director of housing awarded £50,000 'golden handshake'

Wandsworth Guardian: Roy Evans on far right Roy Evans on far right

An outgoing housing chief has been awarded a "golden handshake" of more than £150,000 despite Wandsworth Council aiming to cut more than £40m from its bidget.

Director of housing Roy Evans has been granted the hefty severance package after he was made redundant in the latest wave of cuts to the council's housing department.

The steep payout comes after the council announced it needs to slash £43m from its budget over the next 18 months in order to avoid potentially huge council tax increases.

A total of 44 positions are being cut from the housing department, while another departmental director is also facing the axe.

Mr Evans, who has been employed by the council for 33 years, was paid a salary of £212,788 for 2012/13 including pension payments.

A council committee agreed earlier this year he will receive a pay-off of £101,454, as well as a discretionary payment of £50,728 on top of the severance package, totalling £152,182

Councillor Rex Osborn, leader of the opposition party, said he was perplexed by the decision given the vast sum due to Mr Evans once he retires.

He said: "At a time when the council is having to cut millions from its budgets, cuts which are often being made by axing or watering down frontline services, it's astonishing that the Tories have the gall to make a redundancy payment of over £150,000 to an officer who is already leaving the council with a pension worth well over £1m.

"It's clearly right Wandsworth compensates staff who are forced to leave the organisation but given that many of those who are being laid off at the moment will leave with just a week's pay for every year they have been employed, it's obscene to be paying six figure golden handshakes to council directors, who have already enjoyed many years being paid very high salaries."

Five council staff receive salaries exceeding £200,000, while a further 24 council employees earn more than £100,000.

A council spokesman defending the decision stating that it had adhered to the terms of Mr Evans' contract.

He said: "The former director of housing’s redundancy payment was his contractual entitlement and not a penny more.

"The same policy is applied to all permanent members of staff who face redundancy regardless of their seniority.

"We continue to reduce the number of senior council officers as part of our efforts to bear down on costs and are now saving more than £2million of taxpayers’ money each and every year as a result."

Cost-cutting will continue after councillors last week rubber stamped plans to axe a further 28 members of staff from the Children's Services Department and the Environment and Community Services Department.

A final budget for next year, including details of the cuts, will be published in February, 2014.

 

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