More than £130,000 spent on Great Yarmouth council staff pay-outs in one year

View from the top of Havenbridge House.Town Hall.October 2015.Picture: James Bass

View from the top of Havenbridge House.Town Hall.October 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

A Norfolk council paid out almost £140,000 in severance pay to four ex-staff members in one year.

View south along Hall Quay in Great Yarmouth towards the town hall.Picture: James Bass

View south along Hall Quay in Great Yarmouth towards the town hall.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

The sum was spent by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in 2018/19.

Since 2014 the authority has handed out more than £490,000 to 29 departing workers.

A borough council spokesman said severance pay is an "unavoidable one-off expense".

"It must be seen within the context of the on-going benefits and value-for money brought about by strengthening the in-house workforce and by reducing reliance on consultants and agency staff," the council said.

Since 2014, Town Hall has spent more than £3m on consultants and agents.

This includes £230,000 on the development of the Town Centre master plan, which aims to regenerate the town.

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The council said: "Since the appointment of a permanent chief executive, in November 2016, the council has been progressing an organisational development approach, following a clear, coherent vision for what the council looks and feels like.

"This has included an internal restructure, ensuring the council retains and employs the right people with the right skills in the right positions.

"This strengthening of the council's own workforce has importantly reduced expenditure and reliance on external consultants and agency staff, ensuring it has the in-house capacity to deliver its ambitious work to meet public priorities, while maintaining service delivery in the face financial challenges across the public sector.

"Where staff have left the organisation through these changes, they are entitled under employment law to severance and redundancy pay," the council said.

The breakdown of the pay-outs, including, in brackets, number of ex-staff receiving payments, is:

- 2014/15 £168,703 (12)

- 2015/16 £77,536 (4)

- 2016/17 no severance payments

- 2017/18 £107,205 (9)

- 2018/19 £137,119 (4)

Since 2016, councils in Norfolk and Suffolk have used more than £1m of taxpayers' money on pay-offs to departing council staff.