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Harrow Council to restore chief executive months after taxpayers shelled out £170,000 to ditch the role

Labour believe the role at the council is essential, despite the previous administration ditching it months ago.

The former chief executive Michael Lockwood, in the line of duty.

Staff at Harrow Council have indicated that they would like the role of chief executive to return to the authority, according to an internal survey.

A consultation was launched last month by the new Labour administration after the previous Conservative group which ran the council until May ditched the role.

However the £187,000-a-year role is now set to return, despite the council shelling out a taxpayer-funded severance package consisting of a compensation payment of £30,000 and a lump sum payment entitlement of £138,651 to the final occupier of the role, Michael Lockwood, when he left earlier this year.

Chief executive role deleted as Tory administration wield axe  

Councillor Susan Hall (Conservative), who led the council when the chief executive was ditched, said: "It is a pity that Labour are not confident enough to lead the council and need a chief executive to do their work for them.

The former chief executive Michael Lockwood
 

"This will cost the taxpayer £1million over the course of their administration, and just goes to show the lack of talent on offer within Labour's ranks.

"Going through the pretence of a consultation with staff is a joke. Labour were always going to do this either way and not all the staff even live in the borough. It is taxpayers who will pay for this costly decision and yet they were not asked."

Of the 5,000 staff asked to share their thoughts, 384 responded to a questionnaire which asked views on two options – whether they supported the return of the post of chief executive or whether they wanted to continue with the present interim arrangement, under which a senior director combines part of the role of CEO with his existing job.

More than two thirds of respondents opted for the return of the chief executive.

Council leader David Perry (Labour) said: “I have always maintained that the deletion of the CEO post was done with the minimum consultation possible. Staff were not allowed any say - we have put that right by actually asking our employees and elected representatives what they think.

Hitting out: Councillor Susan Hall
 

“This consultation is about having the right kind of management structure to oversee the huge challenges facing Harrow Council, particularly the need to slash £75million from our budget due to Government cuts.

“Over the coming few weeks we will consider the best route forward before putting a recommendation to next month’s cabinet meeting.”

 

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