CROYDON IN CRISIS: Staff were told this afternoon that two of the ‘executive leadership team’ who were suspended from duty last week have quit their jobs. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES
Guy Van Dichele, Croydon’s executive director “health, well-being and adults”, and finance director Lisa Taylor have both resigned from their jobs.
The news was announced to staff at the cash-strapped council this afternoon in an internal memo from Katherine Kerswell, the borough’s interim CEO.
Van Dichele and Taylor were among the four execs to be suspended last week, pending a disciplinary process which formally got underway at a secret meeting of the appointments committee yesterday afternoon.
The suspensions were announced soon after Kerswell received the Penn Report, backed by the Local Government Association, into “possible wrong-doing” at the council in the couple of years that led to the authority going bust.
Van Dichele had worked at the council since December 2016 and held various positions in the challenging social care sector, rising to his ultimate job which in the past year had carried much of the responsibility for the council’s response to covid-19. Unlike some of his colleagues, he was regarded by Katharine Street sources as a competent manager.
Taylor had been in charge of the borough’s finances since January 2019, taking over after the equally surprising resignation of her erstwhile boss, Richard Simpson.
In the government’s “rapid review” of Croydon’s finances and governance, Taylor’s relative inexperience in the role was referred to in the report as perhaps one reason for a delay in issuing the Section 114 notice, effectively admitting that the council had gone bust.
As executive directors, both individuals were on six-figure salaries, with Van Dichele on a cool £215,444 (according to figures correct in 2019).
Because both Taylor and Van Dichele chose to resign, they will not be subject to the disciplinary process that apparently awaits Hazel Simmonds and Shifa Mustafa, who were also suspended from duty last week.
And because they resigned, neither Taylor nor Van Dichele seem likely to qualify for any generous pay-off.
Kerswell and Croydon Council had not responded to Inside Croydon’s request for comment by the time of publication.
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