Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP,
Secretary of State,
27th September 2013
Re: Payment of staff member at rate of £500,000 per year plus perks
It has come to my attention recently that a staff member jointly employed by Liverpool City Council and Lancashire County Council has earned more than £250,000 per year for the 2.5 days that he worked for Lancashire County Council. I cannot tell, you how much he earns for Liverpool as, although he is a seconded council employee, he actually gets paid by Liverpool Direct Ltd., a subsidiary of BT. However, I am sure that you would agree with me that the £250,000 would be more than ample if it were for a full time job.
I am concerned that this staffing deal is just the tip of an iceberg of an agreement reached between BT, (then) Tory controlled Lancashire County Council and Labour controlled Liverpool City Council. In both councils there has been a total lack of transparency about the deals between each other and it’s deals between each council and BT’s subsidiaries,One Call Lancashire and Liverpool Direct Ltd..
Neither my colleagues in Lancashire or I have any idea of the relationships, which staff worked where, or what reductions in costs have been achieved in staff or procurement gained from two councils and companies working together. This is not lack of industry on our part! we have tried several times to get this information but have always been rebuffed.
Frankly we have taken this as far as we can inside the council’s apparatus. In past times I would have taken this to the Audit Commission but that has been abolished and I have no confidence in the ability of private sector auditors to look at this matter.
I am, therefore, asking you to intervene and to have a top level review of how this situation has come to pass; what is bad or indeed good about the relationships; and how there can be proper governance of these intertwined and complex sets of relationships. As you know I have often disagreed with you about levels of payments to staff but I am sure that we can both agree that the equivalent of £500,000 plus extras is far, far too much.
I look forward to hearing from you as to how you might take this forward and can guarantee my complete support for such actions.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Deomocrats
Cc: Don Foster MP, Lib Dem Minister DCLG