Details of Caerphilly pay scandal revealed

Campaign Series: Details of Caerphilly pay scandal revealed Details of Caerphilly pay scandal revealed

DETAILS of unlawful payments given to senior officials at Caerphilly council have emerged.

Five senior officers, including two who are suspended as part of a police investigation, received more than £94,000 of unlawful payments as part of the salary hike scandal.

Anthony Barrett, Assistant Auditor General for Wales, states in the council’s financial accounts for 2012-13 that a total of £488,927 paid to senior council officers was unlawful.

These included the £270,364 in pay rises, £102,709 to buy-out allowances for essential car users, and £115,854 to buy-out additional annual leave.

Caerphilly council’s chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan and his deputy Nigel Barnett were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office after huge pay rises were awarded to 21 senior officials at the authority. Mr O’Sullivan received a total of £25,182, while his deputy, Mr Barnett, received £13,870.

Section 151 officer Nicole Scammell was given £21,647, Sandra Aspinall, director of education, got £19,083, and Albert Heaney, director of social services received £14,279.

The police investigation, which is being undertaken by Avon and Somerset Police, began after an initial report from Mr Barrett said the pay rises were unlawful.

In the latest financial accounts, notes taken from the Public Interest Report from the WAO published in March this year explains why the payments were deemed by Mr Barrett to be “unlawful”.

The notes state: “Certain officers, including the chief Executive, who would have been, and were, beneficiaries of the decision were present throughout the meeting to approve the salary increases. No declarations of interest were made and these officers did not leave the room whilst the decision was made. In doing so, they participated in the decision-making process.

“The report presented to the Committee was authored by the chief executive who was a direct beneficiary of the decision made and who gave advice on a matter in which he had a pecuniary interest.

“The report by the chief executive did not consider the full range of options identified by the Hay Group (tasked with recommending revised pay structures), as set out in the appendix to the report. Nor was there any detailed and explicit consideration of these options in the meeting of the Committee. The Wales Audit Office considered that these additional matters in themselves rendered the decisions taken by the Committee unlawful.

“As a consequence, there is an amount of £270,364 included in expenditure in the 2012/13 accounts, which is considered by the Wales Audit Office to constitute unlawful expenditure.”

A spokesman for Caerphilly council said: "We have received confirmation from the Wales Audit Office that they consider payments made to senior officers relating to the buy-out of car allowances and additional annual leave as being 'unlawful expenditure'.

“A few months ago we voluntarily referred the matter to our external auditors and it is still being investigated. We are currently awaiting their view on the matter."

A special inspection into Caerphilly council will take place later this year following “significant failures in governance”, which were published in last month’s Annual Improvement Report by the WAO.

Comments (5)

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10:54am Tue 8 Oct 13

Realist UK says...

The only acceptable remedy the public would accept is all illegal payments returned & those knowingly responsible dismissed. That is the only way the Labour controlled authority could show the electorate they take this matter seriously. Otherwise, vote independent and clear the lot of them out.
The only acceptable remedy the public would accept is all illegal payments returned & those knowingly responsible dismissed. That is the only way the Labour controlled authority could show the electorate they take this matter seriously. Otherwise, vote independent and clear the lot of them out. Realist UK

11:12am Tue 8 Oct 13

On the inside says...

There are only three kinds of independents. Far left nutters who are too 'left wing' for the Labour party, far right nutters who even UKIP would baulk at, or self obsessed glory seekers who are no use to anyone and have no policies except the advancement of themselves or the small area they represent. Even those with a smal area mentality often are only really interested in a small part of that area or a small section of the populatin in that area, often closely linked to their own politics, race, religion, or residence. They are the last thing we need.

There are tow problems here. Firstly the councillors (political party is not the issue her it is competence) should have known that pay deliberations should be in the absence of the officers who would benefit. Secondly, the officers (who are the ones on megabucks unlike the councillors) should have known they should never have been in the room. One lot were misguided and are accountable to the electorate. The other lot were trying to unduly influence councillors for their own benefit. That is why the police are quite righty involved.
There are only three kinds of independents. Far left nutters who are too 'left wing' for the Labour party, far right nutters who even UKIP would baulk at, or self obsessed glory seekers who are no use to anyone and have no policies except the advancement of themselves or the small area they represent. Even those with a smal area mentality often are only really interested in a small part of that area or a small section of the populatin in that area, often closely linked to their own politics, race, religion, or residence. They are the last thing we need. There are tow problems here. Firstly the councillors (political party is not the issue her it is competence) should have known that pay deliberations should be in the absence of the officers who would benefit. Secondly, the officers (who are the ones on megabucks unlike the councillors) should have known they should never have been in the room. One lot were misguided and are accountable to the electorate. The other lot were trying to unduly influence councillors for their own benefit. That is why the police are quite righty involved. On the inside

11:23am Tue 8 Oct 13

Realist UK says...

Hmmmm..... wasn't that my point? The Labour controlled authority have the power to expel those who are accountable.
Hmmmm..... wasn't that my point? The Labour controlled authority have the power to expel those who are accountable. Realist UK

12:32pm Tue 8 Oct 13

Woodgnome says...

Unfortunately this tarnishes not just CBC but the whole of Wales.
It's time this lot was sorted and fast.
Unfortunately this tarnishes not just CBC but the whole of Wales. It's time this lot was sorted and fast. Woodgnome

10:53am Wed 9 Oct 13

Cwmderi says...

There are TEN ELECTED COUNCILLORS ON THE LABOUR DOMINATED CABINET which forms the Executive of the council.
It has come to light that the whole cabinet were aware of the commissioned HAY Group Report and would have been made aware of ALL the options (Including not to award the pay rises).
It is even more alarming that four of these cabinet members, including the two Deputy Leaders, also sat on the unlawful Senior Officers Remuneration Panel which approved the pay awards. So the four cabinet members would have been fully briefed and discussed the pay awards with senior officers before it had gone to the secret committee and had probably decided their options before going to the meeting.
Officers have been hung out to dry whilst the elected members of the cabinet executive have gone into hiding.
All elected councillors are fully aware of their duty to disclose any interest at the start of any meeting and yet this basic rule appears to have been totally ignored by councillors and officers alike.
What a total shambles.
There are TEN ELECTED COUNCILLORS ON THE LABOUR DOMINATED CABINET which forms the Executive of the council. It has come to light that the whole cabinet were aware of the commissioned HAY Group Report and would have been made aware of ALL the options (Including not to award the pay rises). It is even more alarming that four of these cabinet members, including the two Deputy Leaders, also sat on the unlawful Senior Officers Remuneration Panel which approved the pay awards. So the four cabinet members would have been fully briefed and discussed the pay awards with senior officers before it had gone to the secret committee and had probably decided their options before going to the meeting. Officers have been hung out to dry whilst the elected members of the cabinet executive have gone into hiding. All elected councillors are fully aware of their duty to disclose any interest at the start of any meeting and yet this basic rule appears to have been totally ignored by councillors and officers alike. What a total shambles. Cwmderi

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