Southwark Labour amazingly have just introduced Golden Goodbyes for their cabinet councillors. This is the first council to ever introduce these extra payments.
So when a Labour cabinet councillor loses an election, resigns or is sacked they will now get a pay-off. The pay-off will be one month of extra Special Responsibility Allowance and an extra week for each year of service unto a maximum of 13 weeks. This payment will be up to £12,791 and even more for the Southwark Labour leader decides to step down.
My initial thoughts were of sympathy for someone who might lose their post suddenly. People have to live. But then I started to think why someone would suddenly lose such a post.
In no other job, let alone a calling such as being a councillor, do people receive a pay-off wen they resign. So why do Labour councillors expect it?
If resigning would cause financial hardship then that person should plan ahead. They could resign with a few months’ notice. That’s how normal people in normal jobs would do it.
There is also a real concern that ‘resignations’ cover a range of situations. Examples of recent resignations such as former Labour councillors Friary and Garfield involving police or legal action would certainly not be appropriate for these kind of payments. So Southwark Labour have decided the Standards Committee would confirm or deny these payments. This means Labour councillors have to tow the Labour party line or they’ll be blocked from these payments.
With regard to the proposal for payments for Cabinet Members who are sacked by the Leader, again I would ask why? As per normal jobs, wouldn’t the strong leader give someone three months’ notice. Give plenty of warning via regular 121’s. This would again lessen any problem of financial insecurity.
Lastly, if the Southwark Labour party group elects a new Cabinet Member, why can’t the elections take place over three months in advance of the council AGM when new post holders are confirmed? This would allow better planning and a ‘notice period’ effectively for those who didn’t make the grade losing their roles.
So, overall, I can’t fathom any justification for these proposals to award new payments to Cabinet members IF people manage the situation better and consider SRA post holders’ financial insecurity. Unless of course this is all a big ruse to Southwark Labour a tool to keep their councillors under control…