Councillors say they will quiz officials over thousands paid out to staff in honorariums

PUBLISHED: 12:37 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 June 2010

Fenland Council: officials to be quizzed on honorariums

Fenland Council: officials to be quizzed on honorariums

By John Elworthy TORY members of Fenland District Council plan to quiz officials in the New Year over tens of thousands of pounds paid to staff as honorariums. A Freedom of Information request to the council has shown that from January 1 to October 31 th

By John Elworthy

TORY members of Fenland District Council plan to quiz officials in the New Year over tens of thousands of pounds paid to staff as honorariums.

A Freedom of Information request to the council has shown that from January 1 to October 31 this year, the authority has already paid out nearly £40,000 in honorariums to its staff.

In 2008 the council paid out £51,240, in 2007 staff received a total of £39,218 and in 2006 the amount paid out was £19,752.

Prospective council leader Alan Melton, and the portfolio holder for finance, was unavailable today to comment on the sums paid out but several councillors have expressed concern over the payments.

"I find it extraordinary that at a time when we are meant to be tightening our belts, the council is paying out such sums to staff on top of their salaries," said one councillor.

Another councillor said: "The sums paid out are not small- effectively you are talking about an amount equivalent to one per cent on Council Tax".

A council spokesman said "the appropriate service director authorises these payments."

The spokesman said the money was paid to people "who undertake extra responsibilities on top of or outside the remit of their normal job". If there is a recruitment freeze or a person leaves, then someone steps up and gets rewarded as a result.

He added that giving people the opportunity to step up was good for on going training and for their career development.

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