It’s not all doom and gloom at Croydon Town Hall. Well, as long as you’re not one of the 300-or-so council employees facing redundancy as the council slashes and burns local services with its non-slash and burn budget (copyright 2011: Mike Fisher).Croydon Council is soon to get a brand new employee, and unlike the vast majority of those about to be shown the door, this lucky so-and-so can expect to be paid an annual salary of up to £110,000, plus expenses and allowances, as well as six weeks’ annual paid holiday.
The ad was posted by swanky executive headhunters OdgersBerndtson, who in turn will pocket at least £35,000 of council tax-payers dough for posting a few ads, all towards the profits of the West End-firm that includes former Tory MP Virginia Bottomley among its directors. The industry standard for headhunters’ fees is usually a payment equivalent to one-third of the recruit’s first-year salary.
And all this in the very week when Eric Pickles got all red in the face about council execs on £100,000-plus salaries. Would love to be a fly on the wall when Big Eric pops in to Taberner House for a cup of tea with go-getting Croydon CEO Jon Rouse (annual salary: £195,000, plus perks).
The “vacancy” being advertised is for a “Director of Early Intervention and Specialist Support”. Odgers’ ad says:
“Make your mark in Croydon
“At the heart of Croydon’s ambitious regeneration programme are the people who will benefit most in the future. The challenges are large scale, and so are our expectations. However, the rewards will match the challenge – an opportunity to create a bright future for our young people and, in doing so, helping us create London’s third city.
“With a portfolio which includes early intervention, social care services and integrated youth, you will provide the vision and leadership skills to deliver our ambitions – and the ambitions of the children young people in Croydon. As part of a new senior management team that sets the direction and culture you’ll drive a whole-system approach to meeting the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our community.
“A transformational leader who can achieve sustainable change; this post offers a tremendous opportunity to make a step-change in early intervention and specialist services in Croydon. In turn, this post will give you the opportunity to achieve your ambitions too.”
Want to apply? Better hurry, deadline is Monday.
The job ad comes with a cobbled together 22-page “candidate brief”, introduced by Rouse, that outlines:
“The post will form part of a new senior management team which will come into effect as a result of the Council’s restructuring of its departmental structure. This critical post has responsibility for both early intervention work and specialist support, and so the post-holder will have the opportunity to build on existing work to strengthen Croydon’s approach to vulnerable children across all stages of need. Croydon is focussing its status as a pilot area for community budgets on early intervention work, developing further its innovative approach to Total Place.”
There’s reams of this stuff. Platitudes and empty phrases. And lots of double spacing and blank pages. Well worth 35 grand of any council’s money.
There are one or two lines about Croydon that stand out, but would not stand up to much close scrutiny.
Take this as an example:
- “Openness: We say what we mean and mean what we say, so that people know where they stand and can express their views openly.”
Or there’s this:
- “Proud to serve: We are proud to serve our community and put customers’ needs at the heart of everything we do. We listen to all parts of our community and act on what they tell us.”
Whoever gets the job will also take the lead in the council’s dealings on asylum seekers, and they will report to the Croydon’s executive director children, young people and learners (CYPL in Croydoncouncilspeak), which from March 1 is to be another newcomer, Paul Greenhalgh (estimated salary: £140,000).
That suggests that this latest appointment is actually what the council used to call an assistant director. By upping the title to “director”, there’s been another 40 grand of council taxpayers’ money added to the salary.
Greenhalgh’s arrival next month will end the situation where Croydon residents are shelling out around £700 per day for temporary replacement Di Smith’s fees and hotel accommodation.
This story was unearthed by Gareth Davies in the Advertiser (credit where it’s due), before appearing in the Daily Mail. There the figures being paid to Smith were altered somewhat (from £850 a day in the original Advertiser report, to £650 a day in the revised, Mail version; from £18,000 a month in the original Advertiser version, to less than £11,000 per month as reported by the Mail).
It all adds up to a heap of our money, and all for four days’ work a week.
Now, instead of that, with a new exec director and a new
assistant director in post in this one department, Croydon will be spending nearly £21,000 per month on these two people’s salaries alone.
Happy days, eh?