£63,000 payout to man who retired after five years as head of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire councils shared services (LGSS)

PUBLISHED: 16:29 05 June 2018

LGSS - the creation of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire county councils - paid out £63,000 to the retiring managing director John Kane.

LGSS - the creation of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire county councils - paid out £63,000 to the retiring managing director John Kane.

Archant

The £152,000 a year boss who headed up shared Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire county council services for the past five years picked up a £63,000 payout when he retired earlier this year.

Managing director of Local Government Shared Services (LGSS) John Kane took early retirement at the end of March after five years at the helm.

Payments documented in the council’s recently published draft accounts for 2017/18 show that he was given a £30,000 loss of office payment and a £33,000 payment in lieu of notice.

Mr Kane, who has been replaced by Sarah Homer, received a total sum of £239,000 during the 2017/18 financial year.

LGSS was created by Northamptonshire County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council in 2010 and looks after a large number of services including HR, legal services, temporary employment, IT services and revenue and benefits collection.

In 2016 Milton Keynes Council became the third member and the combined organisation employs 1,600 staff and manages a combined delegated budget of £83million.

LGSS was heavily criticised by government inspector Max Caller in his best value report into the workings of Northamptonshire County Council.

A spokesman for LGSS said: “The former managing director for LGSS retired in March at an earlier point than was planned.

“The partner councils – Cambridgeshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council – were planning a review of LGSS and agreed an earlier timescale for this and subsequently the retirement was taken earlier.

“The payments were in recognition of this.”

In his March report Mr Caller said: “There are a number of areas where the relationship with LGSS at best confuses accountability and at worst prevents it.”

The report said: “The inspection team feel there would be benefit in reviewing the relationship between Northamptonshire County Council and LGSS to ensure there was clearer accountability and the council had strategic capacity close to its decision makers.

“This is particularly pertinent, as it appears that LGSS is no longer generating surpluses which can be applied to reduce the overall costs to the constituent councils.” The payments to Mr Kane come at a time when Northamptonshire County Council has had to introduce emergency spending controls and has almost exhausted all of its reserves to make ends meet.

It is now planning to sell off historic County Hall in Northampton as well as many other assets including a number of libraries across the county.

In a statement announcing Mr Kane’s retirement on the LGSS website on February 18 this year Northamptonshire County Council’s former interim chief executive Damon Lawrenson said: “I would like to personally thank John on behalf of LGSS stakeholders, customers and staff for his hard work, dedication and leadership of LGSS.

“In that time, LGSS has more than doubled in size and has delivered economies-of-scale for its three owning authorities and its customers.

“LGSS has consistently exceeded all of its savings and efficiency objectives, throughout the past five years.”

Last month it was revealed that the failing Northamptonshire council paid 23 senior officers more than £100,000 in 2016/17. The authority has not given staff a pay rise in three years and has made cuts to sick pay.

Northants Lib Dem county councillor Dennis Meredith said the payments needed to be questioned by full council.

He said: “We need to know why these payments were made and who authorised them. “How do staff react when they hear about these payments given to senior officers? “Morale of staff is at an all-time low and many have not received a pay rise for several years.”

When LGSS was launched in 2010 the county authority stated the ‘partnership was formed in response to the challenges faced by local authorities, namely, public sector funding pressures, impact of the recession, rising expectations and growing demand, and seeks to reduce the cost of business services through the consolidation of resources, process redesign and exploitation of technology.’

FOOTNOTE

The LGSS says Mr Kane’s replacement, Sarah Homer, “has significant private sector experience and has worked in local government for 12 years, leading in support services and resources; and developed and delivered large transformation programmes in Walsall, Sheffield, East Sussex and Birmingham.

“More recently, Sarah has been the Chief Operating Officer at the London Borough of Havering where she’s led on the development of a new vision and operating model”

Sarah Homer said: “I’m delighted to be joining LGSS (one of the UK’s leading public shared service organisations) at such an exciting time.

“I look forward to working with our staff, customers and partners to look at our current and future challenges and develop innovative solutions and sustainable services for the future.”

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