Rugby Borough Council has performed a U-turn. On 23rd August, they were asked if they could release a redacted version of the private report that was used to make the decision on the new management arrangements. At that time, Craig Humphrey said ‘No’.
Today, following Freedom of Information requests, they have published a version of the report. Seems that they could make some of it public after all. You can download it from the council website here.
What is missing? The entirety of Appendix 1. This was what outlined the options for the Council to choose between. It’s not clear exactly how many options there were, but as the recommendation was to choose number 7, there were at least that many.
One important point though. The conclusion to the report says:
The continuation of the current interim arrangements for the senior management of the Council outlined within Option 7 in Appendix 1 appear to give the Council a robust management structure whilst preserving the saving of around £104,000 per annum included in current budgets.
However, a little earlier in the report it says:
Indicative costs relative to current budgets are shown against each option in Appendix 1. Approval of Option 7 as recommended in this report would be largely cost neutral against 2010/11 budgets and going forward.
So, which is it? Is it a saving of the entire salary of the outgoing Chief Executive, of over £100,000? Is it ‘largely cost neutral’ (ie: little to no saving)? Or somewhere in between? We aren’t even allowed to know what the numbers were for each option.
What we do know, however, is that the Leader is being recommended for a £6,605 increase in his annual allowance. I have also found out that the two Executive Directors did receive increases in their salaries to account for their expanded roles – but I don’t know how much by, or what their salaries are now. I’m guessing that the numbers are in the part of the report that we cannot be allowed to see.
The report contradicts itself on the question of savings. It also doesn’t tell us which option was actually chosen, or whether it was amended during the meeting. It certainly doesn’t tell us what the six (or more?) alternative options were.
September 17, 2010 at 11:35
Preserving a saving within current budgets would appear to be the same as cost neutral on current budgets. I’m not sure there’s an inconsistency here.
September 17, 2010 at 17:51
To be honest, I don’t know. We aren’t allowed to know. Your suggestion could well be right – and thinking on it I can see what you mean.
But it depends on when the current budgets were set, and what the actual savings were against them at the time of the change. It does suggest that the two statements, only a few sentences apart, are based on different starting points without explaining what they are.
An answer to the public on 23 Aug did say that the figures could not have anticipated a future change, such as the review of the Leader’s allowance. Did it anticipate any changes that have been made to the salaries of the two Executive Directors?