So much for the Party of Financial Competence.
Northamptonshire County Council is run by the Conservative Party – badly.
That is why it is now bankrupt, and set to be split up and replaced with two new unitary authorities.
The Guardian report quoted below shows that it paid more than a million pounds to one man and companies owned by him. That man also happens to have been the council’s chief executive and finance director.
And what kind of service have the people been getting?
Adult social care is “on the verge of becoming unsafe”.
The council is closing 21 of its 36 libraries.
All non-urgent spending has been banned.
Of course, the person who has taken the money says reports about him are factually inaccurate.
Whether they are, or not, it is clear that council taxpayers are being failed in a big way.
The previous chief executive was regarded as the architect of the council’s disastrous ‘Next Generation’ restructuring programme, necessitated by cuts inflicted by the Conservative government. He left in October with a £95,000 pay-off. The council’s leader resigned earlier this month.
Tories oversaw the cuts; they supervised the restructuring programme and signed off the expensive payments to consultancies run by members of their staff. They saw nothing wrong with this.
And Northamptonshire isn’t the only council going bankrupt. The Guardian article suggests 15 more could go bust in the next three years.
That’s why it is vitally important to end Tory control of local authorities.
Council taxpayers simply cannot afford it.
Tory-controlled Northamptonshire county council, which declared itself effectively bankrupt last month, paid its acting chief executive more than £1,000 a day, it has emerged.
Damon Lawrenson had been interim chief executive at the council since November, having previously acted as temporary finance director at the council since October 2016. Lawrenson left the council this week “by mutual consent”.
Northamptonshire was heavily criticised in a recent government inspector’s report, which identified deep-rooted management and governance failures over the past four years as the prime cause of its financial problems.
The report highlighted what it called the council’s “sloppy” approach to financial management and lack of realism in business planning. It called for a clear-out of the existing leadership in order to restore stability to the council.
A freedom of information (FOI) request by the GMB union revealed that the council paid out £371,000 to DDL Consultancy, owned by Lawrenson, during 2016-17 and 2017-18. His company had earlier been paid a further £540,000 between 2008 and 2011, when he had stints as assistant chief executive and commercial director.
The local government secretary, Sajid Javid, is considering the report’s recommendation that the county be run by a team of Whitehall-appointed commissioners until it can be scrapped, along with seven local district councils, and replaced by two new smaller unitary authorities.
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