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Audit Commission - Council chief executives' pay-offs: Commission calls for evidence

The Audit Commission wants views on whether and how rules on pay-offs to senior council staff may need to be strengthened as it launches its inquiry into severance settlements.

The Communities Secretary John Denham has asked the Commission to look at the regulation of financial agreements between councils and chief executives who leave before their contracts are up, especially those who subsequently move to another local authority to take a top job.

The call for evidence opens today and will last for a month. Its main question is whether pay off rules and conventions adequately protect the interests of council tax payers

The Commission is writing to organisations with a stake in value for money and fair contracts, asking them for their views and for examples of good and bad practice. They include the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Local Government Association.

Auditors appointed by the Commission to oversee local authority accounts already monitor individual cases. It now wants to hear from elected members, chief executives, council audit committees and officials designated to monitor ethics in local government, as well as the public.

Evidence should be submitted by email to severancesettlements@audit-commission.gov.uk or by post to Severance Settlements evidence, Audit Commission, 1st Floor Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4HQ

The deadline for submissions is 5.00pm on Friday 2 October 2009.

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