Earlier this month, the South Wales Echo ran a story with the headline, ’Totally indefensible’ Cardiff Council manager paid £550 a day, say auditors. From the article:
Auditors at Wales’ biggest local authority say it was “totally indefensible” that a manager was paid £550 a day – more than twice the normal salary for the post.
An internal investigation also found the Cardiff council employee was the only person interviewed for the highly-paid job out of 40 candidates.
The council carried out the internal audit after the GMB union questioned the recruitment and subsequent pay of a manager in the children’s services department.
We were asked to make a statement following the decision at the September scrutiny committee meeting to send this matter to be sent to the audit committee. We have not seen a follow up piece in the Echo nor Wales Online as yet. Our statement is as follows:
In February of this year, the founders of the CWTCh Network met with Councillor Richard Cook, who was then cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services and the manager who was receiving a wage of £550 a day. At this meeting we questioned the huge figures allegedly being paid to agency workers, Cllr Cook assured us that these sums were not extraordinary and necessary to attract the best people.
In the time when said manager and then interim corporate director held the reins in child health and disability department (CHAD), it went from shambolic to secretive and shambolic. One must ask, if the figures quoted in the South Wales Echo article represent the going rate for “the best” why are these individuals ashamed to be associated with salaries members of our network and others are calling, “obscene”? From the point of view of carers, these workers did not deliver value for money.
The cloak and dagger nature of the manager’s appointment was only the precursor to months of obfuscation – in fact the South Wales Echo kept carers better informed of decisions that would affect our disabled children than did anyone working in CHAD. The one thing these officers could not hide, however, was their obvious contempt for service users.
The CWTCh Network welcomes the move to have this appointment audited. We are looking forward to a new era of mutual respect and co-operation under the new cabinet member, Siobhan Corria. We only hope that council leaders will share Cllr Corria’s ambition to make children’s services in Cardiff the model of good practice.