Swindon AdvertiserSwindon Council director to get £100k redundancy payout (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Swindon Council director to get £100k redundancy payout

Swindon Advertiser: Hitesh Patel Hitesh Patel

AN OUTGOING director at Swindon Council is to receive a severance payment worth nearly £100,000 – prompting the authority to undertake a review to reduce the future redundancy packages for senior staff.

The Adver can exclusively reveal Hitesh Patel, the board director for transformation and strategic projects, will receive £97,000 as part of a package worth £109,000, which also includes the council’s National Insurance contributions.

Mr Patel, who joined the council in January 2005 from drinks firm Diageo, is being laid off because his post will be abolished, as part of the Stronger Together reorganisation, in a bid to save an estimated £16m to balance the budget in 2013/14.

Mr Patel, who is responsible for Wichelstowe and the new 4G broadband project, as well as leading the drive to redesign services, received a total salary and allowances of £130,112 in 2011/12.

The council wanted to keep the level of his severance package secret until he left his post at the end of March.

It banned the press from the cross-party special committee meeting in December to decide the payment, and gagged councillors.

However, the Adver uncovered the amount after a tip-off.

It comes in the week the council revealed an extra 50 posts are set to go as the authority strives to find £4m additional savings to close the budget gap – on top of 70 posts announced before Christmas.

Council leader Rod Bluh said Mr Patel could have received a payout equal to his annual salary, adding: “It was a negotiated settlement which we believe was the minimum we could have supported if he went to a tribunal, and it’s in line with previous terms and conditions.

“Because I was clearly concerned the size of the figure in the current climate was high, and times have changed, I was the one that moved a complete review of terms and conditions for new director posts and current directors.

“I believe we have done the right thing by honouring our terms and conditions. It’s the right time to review the situation for the future given the new financial climate, but none of this reflects in any way on the person in post who has been a very hard-working and honourable employee.”

The issue was hotly debated at Thursday’s full council meeting, when Labour called for assurances the review would be fair on other staff.

The Conservatives accused Labour of trying to pre-determine the outcome of the review.

Coun Des Moffatt, Labour’s finance lead, said: “It’s not right directors can negotiate their package whereas the binman who runs up the street for 20 years after a lorry gets what he’s entitled to by Act of Parliament.”

And Coun Derique Montaut, the former Labour group leader, said: “This is not about knocking senior management, it’s about addressing the issue of public concern that’s been highlighted about golden handshakes that have taken place, not just on this occasion but on other occasions.”

Comments (24)

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7:28am Thu 24 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

It has to be said that in the scheme of things this is not a large payout give his annual salary. Without knowing his full contract terms, we don't know if the rate payer has got off lightly.
It has to be said that in the scheme of things this is not a large payout give his annual salary. Without knowing his full contract terms, we don't know if the rate payer has got off lightly. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

7:48am Thu 24 Jan 13

davel4848 says...

I thought the going rate for redundancy pay was 1.5 weeks pay, for each completed year of service. He was on approximately £2500 per week X 1.5 X 8 years service = £30000.
Swindon Council, you've been done. Oh no you haven't. I was forgetting that this is our council tax we're talking about.
I thought the going rate for redundancy pay was 1.5 weeks pay, for each completed year of service. He was on approximately £2500 per week X 1.5 X 8 years service = £30000. Swindon Council, you've been done. Oh no you haven't. I was forgetting that this is our council tax we're talking about. davel4848
  • Score: 0

7:55am Thu 24 Jan 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Disgraceful....

All public sector employees should be receiving national minimum. It is public money raised through taxation that is being paid out.

If the unions want to do something useful they should be campaigning for those national minimums to be increased. I'll support that as I think they are low.

Whoever agreed this should be up for misconduct.


@Davel4848

I think the national minimum also caps that as well to try to prevent high earners taking huge payouts!
Disgraceful.... All public sector employees should be receiving national minimum. It is public money raised through taxation that is being paid out. If the unions want to do something useful they should be campaigning for those national minimums to be increased. I'll support that as I think they are low. Whoever agreed this should be up for misconduct. @Davel4848 I think the national minimum also caps that as well to try to prevent high earners taking huge payouts! LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

7:58am Thu 24 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

That only applies if the contract doesn't contain any exit clauses. Directors tend to have these written in. Look at football managers they are in post for a couple of months and get payouts in the millions. Because their contracts say they are entitled to it.

We don't know what Patel's says. I would suspect given the comments about 'complete review of terms and conditions for new director posts and current directors' they have been stuffed by their own contracts.

I can't see how they could change existing contracts without first making people redundant (payout) they re-employing so expect more 'unfair' payouts in the short term.
That only applies if the contract doesn't contain any exit clauses. Directors tend to have these written in. Look at football managers they are in post for a couple of months and get payouts in the millions. Because their contracts say they are entitled to it. We don't know what Patel's says. I would suspect given the comments about 'complete review of terms and conditions for new director posts and current directors' they have been stuffed by their own contracts. I can't see how they could change existing contracts without first making people redundant (payout) they re-employing so expect more 'unfair' payouts in the short term. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

8:20am Thu 24 Jan 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

No one in the public sector should have such a contract; director or otherwise.

A director in a moderate sized council should never be paid that much in the first place.

Any person in the public sector involved in the drawing up of such a contract should be sacked for gross misconduct.

The private sector is free to do as it pleases since its their money, not the public's. Football clubs are private companies.
No one in the public sector should have such a contract; director or otherwise. A director in a moderate sized council should never be paid that much in the first place. Any person in the public sector involved in the drawing up of such a contract should be sacked for gross misconduct. The private sector is free to do as it pleases since its their money, not the public's. Football clubs are private companies. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

9:03am Thu 24 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

Quite why ANYONE at Swindon Council should be on a salary of £130kpa is beyond me. That's almost as much as the prime minister of the nation is paid.

Sadly, while the public sector often repeats the mantra that 'good people cost money', it's also true that good people from the private sector are well versed in taking public sector organisations to the cleaners. In part, this is because public sector employees do not have any real concept of where the money they're wasting actually comes from.

While I don't, in any way, feel sorry for Mr Patel, it should be recognised that his track record at Swindon Council means he's unlikely to secure a high profile job in the future.
Quite why ANYONE at Swindon Council should be on a salary of £130kpa is beyond me. That's almost as much as the prime minister of the nation is paid. [p] Sadly, while the public sector often repeats the mantra that 'good people cost money', it's also true that good people from the private sector are well versed in taking public sector organisations to the cleaners. In part, this is because public sector employees do not have any real concept of where the money they're wasting actually comes from. [p] While I don't, in any way, feel sorry for Mr Patel, it should be recognised that his track record at Swindon Council means he's unlikely to secure a high profile job in the future. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

9:57am Thu 24 Jan 13

Scott Thunes says...

Obscene.

Hush money for keeping quiet about the Wi-fi fiasco?
Obscene. Hush money for keeping quiet about the Wi-fi fiasco? Scott Thunes
  • Score: 0

10:44am Thu 24 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

Aren't there 20 people earning more than £100k in Swindon Council and heaven only knows how many on over £50k.
Aren't there 20 people earning more than £100k in Swindon Council and heaven only knows how many on over £50k. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 24 Jan 13

The Other one says...

The minimum as I believe is 1 weeks pay for each full year of service and 1.5 weeks for each year over the age of 41. I have a friend at risk who has been at the council in excess of 6 years than Mr Patel and they will receive less than 10% that of what Mr Patel is receiving. So much for we are all in this together.
The minimum as I believe is 1 weeks pay for each full year of service and 1.5 weeks for each year over the age of 41. I have a friend at risk who has been at the council in excess of 6 years than Mr Patel and they will receive less than 10% that of what Mr Patel is receiving. So much for we are all in this together. The Other one
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Thu 24 Jan 13

beach1e says...

yet another example of public servants being totally out of touch with the reality of decent people who have ordinary jobs without all the extras. decent hard working people yet again being ripped off.
yet another example of public servants being totally out of touch with the reality of decent people who have ordinary jobs without all the extras. decent hard working people yet again being ripped off. beach1e
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Tonyblairisthedevil says...

I am sure he is worth every single penny of it... ;-)
I am sure he is worth every single penny of it... ;-) Tonyblairisthedevil
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

Scott Thunes wrote:
Obscene.

Hush money for keeping quiet about the Wi-fi fiasco?
No, it's the minimum payment the council are contractually obliged to make.Did you not read the article?

I'm quite surprised you and your Labour party friends haven't realised that the wi-fi thing isn't a vote winner. I'd have thought the local election results back in May would have made that obvious.
[quote][p][bold]Scott Thunes[/bold] wrote: Obscene. Hush money for keeping quiet about the Wi-fi fiasco?[/p][/quote]No, it's the minimum payment the council are contractually obliged to make.Did you not read the article? [p] I'm quite surprised you and your Labour party friends haven't realised that the wi-fi thing isn't a vote winner. I'd have thought the local election results back in May would have made that obvious. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Thu 24 Jan 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Statutory minimums:

For each year of employment you get:

0.5 week’s pay up to your 22nd birthday
1 week’s pay after your 22nd birthday
1.5 weeks’ pay after your 41st birthday
Length of service is capped at 20 years and weekly pay at £430.

The maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay is £12,900.
Statutory minimums: For each year of employment you get: 0.5 week’s pay up to your 22nd birthday 1 week’s pay after your 22nd birthday 1.5 weeks’ pay after your 41st birthday Length of service is capped at 20 years and weekly pay at £430. The maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay is £12,900. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Thu 24 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

Artist not if his contract of employment says differently, as Tim stated, it's in the article.
Artist not if his contract of employment says differently, as Tim stated, it's in the article. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Thu 24 Jan 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

@RichardR1

The artist does specifically state that is what statutory minimum's and maximum's are.


Either way, anyone employed in the public sector should be getting statutory since its deemed acceptable for everyone else. To pay above that should be considered gross misconduct and a waste of public funds on whoever put that in the contract. Then again those working in the public sector don't respect the money because it just turns up on their doorstep rather than them having to earn it.
@RichardR1 The artist does specifically state that is what statutory minimum's and maximum's are. Either way, anyone employed in the public sector should be getting statutory since its deemed acceptable for everyone else. To pay above that should be considered gross misconduct and a waste of public funds on whoever put that in the contract. Then again those working in the public sector don't respect the money because it just turns up on their doorstep rather than them having to earn it. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

7:37pm Thu 24 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

Hitesh Patel joined the council in January 2005.

8 years salary @ £130,112 plus £109,000 redundancy pay = £1.15 million.

That's a lot of bin men !!!!
Hitesh Patel joined the council in January 2005. 8 years salary @ £130,112 plus £109,000 redundancy pay = £1.15 million. That's a lot of bin men !!!! MrAngry
  • Score: 0

11:49pm Thu 24 Jan 13

twasadawf says...

It say's a lot about two tier system where the likes of useless council hierarchic and bbc boss's get what amounts to a lottery win for most people on top of an excellent wage when will it ever stop
It say's a lot about two tier system where the likes of useless council hierarchic and bbc boss's get what amounts to a lottery win for most people on top of an excellent wage when will it ever stop twasadawf
  • Score: 0

7:11am Fri 25 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

Really good post Mr Angry. He probably wasnt on that salary when he started, but it is probably around a £million in salary. Of course you have forgotten the pension rights and all the expenses he claimed in office too so in reality it is much higher than that. Not bad for 8 years work in which he didnt really do anythnig worthwhile. But thats how the publice sector operates, the blind leading the blind.

There wont be one person who agreed his contract, it would have been done by a committe after endless meetings and focus groups . You never have just one person making a decision for 2 reasons. Firstly they dont have a clue what they are doing which is why they work in the "easier" atmosphere of the public sector where there is a guaranteed income and customer base for thier business and the customer comes last and has pretty much no control over how its run. and secondly, making a decision on their own would mean taking responsibilty for thier actions and not being able to blame others when it went wrong!

I have no problem with public sector workers earing this sort of money if they are worth it, but most arent. They should all be on performance related pay and be responsible to the tax payer who pays their wages rather than being audited by another bunch of pen pushing jobs worths in the public sector who are as inept as they are.

This is disgusting, from our point of view, but if you were offered that sort of deal with no real responsibilty i bet you would take it! It has to stop and stop now. No more partners and consultants, just officers who are personally responsible for their actions and doing the job they are paid for and if they dont do it then goodbye with the statutory basic redundancy. Its our money and there should be a level or resbinsibilty to use it efficiently
Really good post Mr Angry. He probably wasnt on that salary when he started, but it is probably around a £million in salary. Of course you have forgotten the pension rights and all the expenses he claimed in office too so in reality it is much higher than that. Not bad for 8 years work in which he didnt really do anythnig worthwhile. But thats how the publice sector operates, the blind leading the blind. There wont be one person who agreed his contract, it would have been done by a committe after endless meetings and focus groups . You never have just one person making a decision for 2 reasons. Firstly they dont have a clue what they are doing which is why they work in the "easier" atmosphere of the public sector where there is a guaranteed income and customer base for thier business and the customer comes last and has pretty much no control over how its run. and secondly, making a decision on their own would mean taking responsibilty for thier actions and not being able to blame others when it went wrong! I have no problem with public sector workers earing this sort of money if they are worth it, but most arent. They should all be on performance related pay and be responsible to the tax payer who pays their wages rather than being audited by another bunch of pen pushing jobs worths in the public sector who are as inept as they are. This is disgusting, from our point of view, but if you were offered that sort of deal with no real responsibilty i bet you would take it! It has to stop and stop now. No more partners and consultants, just officers who are personally responsible for their actions and doing the job they are paid for and if they dont do it then goodbye with the statutory basic redundancy. Its our money and there should be a level or resbinsibilty to use it efficiently house on the hill
  • Score: 0

9:01am Fri 25 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

@house on the hill - ^ well said ^

Although, I do not believe that anyone in a local council position should be paid more than £100,000 at the most. And even then it should only be the top 3 or 4 positions.

The problem is that it is very difficult to reliably measure 'success' in these roles. Also, anyone who is truly skilled, successful and good at their job would not even apply for a public sector job. As you pointed out, people who seek top ranking public sector jobs do so because there's far less stress and less responsibility. It's also much, much harder to lose your job, regardless of how poorly you may perform.

That explains a lot about why our towns and cities are run the way they are.
@house on the hill - ^ well said ^ [p] Although, I do not believe that anyone in a local council position should be paid more than £100,000 at the most. And even then it should only be the top 3 or 4 positions. [p] The problem is that it is very difficult to reliably measure 'success' in these roles. Also, anyone who is truly skilled, successful and good at their job would not even apply for a public sector job. As you pointed out, people who seek top ranking public sector jobs do so because there's far less stress and less responsibility. It's also much, much harder to lose your job, regardless of how poorly you may perform. [p] That explains a lot about why our towns and cities are run the way they are. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Fri 25 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

Tim Newroman,

the main problems are that most public sector workers have never worked anywhere else so have no concept of pressure, value for money or putting the customer first. They have no competition for their services so they are not used to having to stay one step ahead, if you had a business where your customers couldnt go anywhere else you would in time become complacent, why work hard and go the extra mile if you dont have to!
And before some people shout, yes there are some in SBC who do work hard. There are 3 groups in the council, those who work hard or at leadt try to but are usually frustrated at every turn by the ineptness of those around or more worryingly above them. Those who have never worked anywhere else but public sector and truly believe they work hard but compared to their equivalents in the private sector dont even come close, but they have no concept of that. the third and most worrying group are those who know exatly what they are doing and know they can get away with "coasting" and just donig enough to get by. they fiddle their time sheets by just a little, not enough to be noticed by enough to give them a nice easy ride. They abuse the flexitime on offer to basically make their job fit their life and stretch work out to fit the hours rather than doing it on time and then helping others. More than a few are not where they say they are when away from the office and despite being caught out time after time still keep their jobs.
SBC is a shambles, too many non jobs, meetings, general complacency, endless errors that go unpunished and staff way past thier sell by date that would have got rid of long ago by any private sector company. They also do far to many internal promotions or moves rather than bringning people with new ideas and experience from the private sector who could bring in better worknig practices to both save money and improve services. As Tim says, it isnt just SBC, most councils are a complete shambles and had they been a competative business would have gone under years ago. But we all know it wont change because the ones with the power to change it are the ones most in need of moving on!
Tim Newroman, the main problems are that most public sector workers have never worked anywhere else so have no concept of pressure, value for money or putting the customer first. They have no competition for their services so they are not used to having to stay one step ahead, if you had a business where your customers couldnt go anywhere else you would in time become complacent, why work hard and go the extra mile if you dont have to! And before some people shout, yes there are some in SBC who do work hard. There are 3 groups in the council, those who work hard or at leadt try to but are usually frustrated at every turn by the ineptness of those around or more worryingly above them. Those who have never worked anywhere else but public sector and truly believe they work hard but compared to their equivalents in the private sector dont even come close, but they have no concept of that. the third and most worrying group are those who know exatly what they are doing and know they can get away with "coasting" and just donig enough to get by. they fiddle their time sheets by just a little, not enough to be noticed by enough to give them a nice easy ride. They abuse the flexitime on offer to basically make their job fit their life and stretch work out to fit the hours rather than doing it on time and then helping others. More than a few are not where they say they are when away from the office and despite being caught out time after time still keep their jobs. SBC is a shambles, too many non jobs, meetings, general complacency, endless errors that go unpunished and staff way past thier sell by date that would have got rid of long ago by any private sector company. They also do far to many internal promotions or moves rather than bringning people with new ideas and experience from the private sector who could bring in better worknig practices to both save money and improve services. As Tim says, it isnt just SBC, most councils are a complete shambles and had they been a competative business would have gone under years ago. But we all know it wont change because the ones with the power to change it are the ones most in need of moving on! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Fri 25 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

Tim Newroman,

the main problems are that most public sector workers have never worked anywhere else so have no concept of pressure, value for money or putting the customer first. They have no competition for their services so they are not used to having to stay one step ahead, if you had a business where your customers couldnt go anywhere else you would in time become complacent, why work hard and go the extra mile if you dont have to!
And before some people shout, yes there are some in SBC who do work hard. There are 3 groups in the council, those who work hard or at leadt try to but are usually frustrated at every turn by the ineptness of those around or more worryingly above them. Those who have never worked anywhere else but public sector and truly believe they work hard but compared to their equivalents in the private sector dont even come close, but they have no concept of that. the third and most worrying group are those who know exatly what they are doing and know they can get away with "coasting" and just donig enough to get by. they fiddle their time sheets by just a little, not enough to be noticed by enough to give them a nice easy ride. They abuse the flexitime on offer to basically make their job fit their life and stretch work out to fit the hours rather than doing it on time and then helping others. More than a few are not where they say they are when away from the office and despite being caught out time after time still keep their jobs.
SBC is a shambles, too many non jobs, meetings, general complacency, endless errors that go unpunished and staff way past thier sell by date that would have got rid of long ago by any private sector company. They also do far to many internal promotions or moves rather than bringning people with new ideas and experience from the private sector who could bring in better worknig practices to both save money and improve services. As Tim says, it isnt just SBC, most councils are a complete shambles and had they been a competative business would have gone under years ago. But we all know it wont change because the ones with the power to change it are the ones most in need of moving on!
Tim Newroman, the main problems are that most public sector workers have never worked anywhere else so have no concept of pressure, value for money or putting the customer first. They have no competition for their services so they are not used to having to stay one step ahead, if you had a business where your customers couldnt go anywhere else you would in time become complacent, why work hard and go the extra mile if you dont have to! And before some people shout, yes there are some in SBC who do work hard. There are 3 groups in the council, those who work hard or at leadt try to but are usually frustrated at every turn by the ineptness of those around or more worryingly above them. Those who have never worked anywhere else but public sector and truly believe they work hard but compared to their equivalents in the private sector dont even come close, but they have no concept of that. the third and most worrying group are those who know exatly what they are doing and know they can get away with "coasting" and just donig enough to get by. they fiddle their time sheets by just a little, not enough to be noticed by enough to give them a nice easy ride. They abuse the flexitime on offer to basically make their job fit their life and stretch work out to fit the hours rather than doing it on time and then helping others. More than a few are not where they say they are when away from the office and despite being caught out time after time still keep their jobs. SBC is a shambles, too many non jobs, meetings, general complacency, endless errors that go unpunished and staff way past thier sell by date that would have got rid of long ago by any private sector company. They also do far to many internal promotions or moves rather than bringning people with new ideas and experience from the private sector who could bring in better worknig practices to both save money and improve services. As Tim says, it isnt just SBC, most councils are a complete shambles and had they been a competative business would have gone under years ago. But we all know it wont change because the ones with the power to change it are the ones most in need of moving on! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

8:55pm Fri 25 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

I heard today that the next round of cuts will impact heavily on the locality teams.
I heard today that the next round of cuts will impact heavily on the locality teams. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

8:03am Sat 26 Jan 13

Tim Newroman says...

MrAngry wrote:
I heard today that the next round of cuts will impact heavily on the locality teams.
An official public sector definition:

Locality teams bring together a range of agencies through joined-up working processes

Sounds like exactly the sort of non-jobs that should be cut.
[quote][p][bold]MrAngry[/bold] wrote: I heard today that the next round of cuts will impact heavily on the locality teams.[/p][/quote]An official public sector definition: [quote] Locality teams bring together a range of agencies through joined-up working processes [/quote] Sounds like exactly the sort of non-jobs that should be cut. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Sat 26 Jan 13

MrAngry says...

Tim, I totally agree.

These non jobs were only created a few years ago, so cutting half of them is surely Rod Bluh admitting that they were a mistake.

The whole Big Conversation is a waste of time and money. If the council can barely afford to provide basic and statutory services, then what is the point in asking the public how they would like to spend money that isn't there.

Spend the money on essential services not meetings.
Tim, I totally agree. These non jobs were only created a few years ago, so cutting half of them is surely Rod Bluh admitting that they were a mistake. The whole Big Conversation is a waste of time and money. If the council can barely afford to provide basic and statutory services, then what is the point in asking the public how they would like to spend money that isn't there. Spend the money on essential services not meetings. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

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