Council offers £750 per day for a rubbish temporary director

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Town Hall reporter KEN LEE on the sky-high wages on offer from the cash-strapped local authority for someone to step in and keep the bins contract ticking over and ANPR cameras working

Bin and gone: the new director will have to find a replacement for rubbish contractors Veolia

As Croydon residents prepare to say a not-so-fond farewell to Steve Iles, the council exec who has presided over their rubbish bin service and managed to spend millions on CCTV cameras that don’t work in this country, among other episodes of ineptitude stretching back many years, news reaches Inside Croydon Towers of preparations to pay his replacement up to £15,000 per month.

At the end of this month, after 35 years working for Croydon Council, Iles is taking early retirement from his job as “director of sustainable communities”. The bright and breezy ad from recruitment agency Starfish puts the salary for Iles’ permanent replacement at Croydon’s cash-strapped council at £122,000 to £127,000, but describes the position as “director of streets and environment”.

“We are looking for someone who has the right skills and experience, but most importantly who also shares our values, and our commitment to Croydon and its people, and to making this council the best organisation it can be,” the ad states cheerily.

Given the omnishambles Croydon Council has been for at least a decade, “the best organisation it can be” is not setting the bar very high…

On his way: Steve Iles

“Our new director of streets and environment will oversee a significant £80million annual expenditure budget and have responsibility for over 450 staff.

“You will lead work across a large portfolio of activity – highways, parking, fleet and transport, parks and open spaces, waste, recycling, street cleansing, environmental regulatory services (including licensing, noise pollution, food safety, events and trading standards).” Fair play: it’s a mammoth job.

Whoever lands it will be expected to lead “the re-procurement of the borough’s waste and recycling contract”, with rubbish contractors Veolia on their way out, despite Iles’ technique to keep them sweet of reducing the demands on the contractor while hiking the amount Croydon paid them.

And we learn from the recruitment advertisement that the council is “proud of our high-performing staff and services across the directorate, which have benefitted [sic] from strong and consistent leadership over many years”, if not reliable use of a spell-check…

It is widely acknowledged, even in public at Town Hall meetings, that Croydon, following its children’s services failed Ofsted inspection in 2017 and the financial collapse in 2020, has struggled to fill many posts.

So while Starfish seek the perfect permanent replacement for Iles, another agency, Remedy Recruitment Group, is advertising with an offer of up to £750 per day for a stop-gap, temporary streets and environment director.

Working five days per week, that day rate works out at £15,000 per month.

Or a cool £180,000 per year, if whoever nabs the position were to stick around that long. And the temp only has to come into Fisher’s Folly offices two days a week “so you must be willing to travel to Croydon”. You knew there’d be a downside, right?

What both advertisements have in common is neither mentions that the potential recruit will be arriving at a council effectively in financial special measures, with all the complications and added pressures that that might mean for the role.

Remedy’s ad style is little more nuts and bolts than the glossy version put out there by Starfish.

Glossy: the Starfish agency recruitment ad for Croydon’s rubbish job. It makes no mention of the council being in financial special measures

They advise that, “This post-holder is the chief engineer for the Highway Authority and leads the statutory responsibility under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Traffic Management Act 2004 and leads the local flood authority and delivers the duties as required under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.” Council staff working in Iles’s department often wondered what qualifications he had to fit those responsibilities.

“The post-holder is the accountable officer for the provision of, or advice on decision making in respect of, the legal discharge of all council highways, environmental services and the universal regulatory services, statutory responsibilities in line with relevant Government legislation…”.

And then there’s this zinger of a demand: “The post-holder is required to observe and fulfill the seven principles of public life (also known as the Nolan Principles).” Which would make a change, in respect of several of any new appointee’s colleagues in Croydon.

Given Iles gave notice he was leaving in June, some working at Fisher’s Folly are wondering why it took until last week for the job ads to fill the vacancy to appear. According to Starfish, any permanent replacement won’t face their final interview until October 4 – more than a month after Iles will have cleared his desk for a final time.

If the lucky recruit is any good, then it would be reasonable to expect them to currently be in a job with another employer, which probably carries a three-month notice period. So that means that the permanent replacement probably won’t be in post until the start of 2024. Veolia’s contract expires in 2025, which doesn’t leave much time for finding a replacement contractor and hammering out terms.

As the council’s under-fire CEO, Katherine Kerswell, prepares for another round of job cuts among front-line staff and middle management, the sky-high pay being offered for a temporary replacement for Iles has been another bitter blow to staff morale.

“Maybe one of your readers could take the temp role for couple months until they find someone permanent,” one disaffected council staffer says.

“At 15k a month, it’s a hell of a lot more than what us mere mortals can ever hope to get.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Katherine Kerswell, Refuse collection, Steve Iles, Veolia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Council offers £750 per day for a rubbish temporary director

  1. Laurence Fisher says:

    The very same Steve, who, following an Ombudsman’s order, had (that’s not wanted) to apologise to me for not collecting our bins for nearly 3 months. He couldn’t wait to jump back to the safety of Fisher’s Folly once he knew angry tax payers realised he was in the dirty street.
    Glad to see this utter smarmy tosser go. No backbone, no logic, a greedy little man.
    They need to hire people who want to do the job better, not because they want another pound. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to practice pride.
    Especially in Croydon, where an abundance of shit awaits them to sort out.

  2. Dave Miller says:

    Maybe my long awaited replacement recycling caddy will finally arrive! Will be a cause for celebration

  3. Leslie Parry says:

    What a surprise ( not) this council continue to use expensive agencies regardless if job or grade. We have this Directorship but also front line staff at tge new in house repairs call centre. Have they head of the job centre and kick start scheme. But also this ex Directors portfolio is to big! It wasn’t managed well it lost us money and service standards. Split and down grade the Directorship

  4. Bob Hewlett says:

    I am willing to come out of my retirement and perform my public duty to my fellow Croydon Council Taxpayers and become a director of sustainable communities. I typed “a” because I would job share AND both of us would perform our duties for only £55,000 pa each. In two strokes I would have cut Croydon unemployment figures and saved Croydon Taxpayers money!

  5. Laurence Fisher says:

    Go for it Bob please apply. You will do a superb job and make a huge difference. The only problem is, to fit in there, you’d have to be faceless, talk a load of bollocks and lie a lot. They don’t like the idea of people who actually do their jobs properly. But you’d have my support mate.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Ditto – also happy to job share – and could probably pull in some pretty decent facilitation, procurement, safety and environmental folk with some semi retired senior investigators a couple of HR and a decent accountant to boot. Know a few in house that could do with a promotion or at least some empowerment and all lived the Nolan Principles for a few decades in Public service. Pity it does not include planning!

      • Jess says:

        I’m sure your investigators and HR would have field day with Planning but it desperately needs a forensic investigation. What a Pandora’s box that would be! That department seems to be unaware of the Nolan Principles. Perhaps a training course for Cheesborough and Townsend?

      • Gavin Palmer says:

        I suggest that you both Apply directly to the Mayor Perry and we may save the emergency recruitment agency fees ( the contract payment may be interesting) present a plan and start on a trial basis. Good for Croydon and using local Croydon talent. Mayor Perry would then have nipped the problem in the bud and got twice the manpower in the job with experience. You can also see all the operations currently and learn from the incumbent! So Hop to it.
        I also suggest gathering all the names as in my opinion they remploy the same people. Organisational charts etc. Standard stuff. Apply only proven solutions.
        I suggest you also regularly update Inside Croydon and ask for talent we are a big enough city state with enough people.
        The time to stop crisis causation and crisis management is now!!
        Good luck if you need it.

  6. Warren Whyatt says:

    After I read the “ Job Description “ for Steve Lies job, after picking myself off the floor with laughter ! Am I to believe that he meet this criteria when he was appointed…no way did he . he has no Engineering Qualifications to the best of my knowledge which I questioned him on several occasions when I was an Engineer in the Highways Department as he was giving incorrect information to third parties. I know a few that will be celebrating his departure, however I won’t be surprised if he returns as a consultant until the post is filled .

Leave a Reply