Gagging clause at South Kesteven District Council?
A top opposition councillor has spoken of ‘gagging clauses’ after alledging that senior staff are being forced out at South Kesteven District Council.
Labour Group leader Phil Dilks made the comments at Friday’s full council meeting of the council last week, as he unsuccessfully sought a review into how the council had handled such a change.
Coun Dilks told the meeting the council has seen “the replacement of the entire senior management team and others who were not on the senior management team”.
Coun Dilks said he is a member of SKDC’s Employment Committee and staff have told him some posts have not been advertised and if they need someone to ring Peterborough City Council or Rutland County Council.
He continued: “I have had stories from the people who have been told you come in on Monday and are out on Friday and if they don’t accept a pay out, who knows what will happen. I don’t know how many gagging clauses have been signed (But) if you don’t sign off your confidentiality clause, you don’t get your pay-off.
“I believe having a review will be beneficial and will give us an opportunity to reassure those who seek to question the integrity of the process.”
Last month, SKDC reported the cost of the restructure had increased from £710,000 to £866,000 but it would deliver savings of £300,000 a year.
Coun Morgan added some staff have been given a few days notice, including staff “held in high regard.”
However, council leader Matthew Lee rejected a review saying council success relied on political leadership and the quality of staff.
Coun Lee said changes have been made in the long-term interest of the council , and with SKDC’s HR department to protect the interests of the council and the individuals concerned. Decisions also protected the ‘dignity’ of the person concerned.
The council had changed and the leadership team needed to change with it, he said. “We haven’t done this in an unkind way. No-one has received less than entitled. It was done with great dignity and done with great respect.”
Employment committee chairman Coun Graham Jeal (Con) rejected a review but said the committee would learn from the experience, adding SKDC acted legally throughout.