Monmouthshire education staff cost £152,659
4:20pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
THREE temporary staff brought in to help bring Monmouthshire Council’s education department out of special measures will be paid a total of £152,659 for just a few months’ work.
Documents seen by us show the three are also being put up in the Hampton by Hilton hotel in Magor at a cost of £49 each per night.
They are also entitled to expenses such as travel and food costs, which are not capped but are scrutinised when invoices are submitted, but the cost of these has not been revealed.
One will work two days a week until the middle of April at a rate of £700 a day.
Another will be paid £475 a day for five days’ work, while a third member of the team will get £500 a day three days a week.
These latter employees will be employed until the end of the summer term.
The amounts of money are paid to the companies that employ them, not the men directly.
Labour councillor Armand Watts criticised their high salaries at a time when the council is planning to cut teaching staff.
The total budget for the council’s previous chief officer and head of service, who left last year was £129,608 - £15,000 of which was paid by the Welsh Local Government Association.
The document seen by us says the total cost of the interim leadership team is estimated at £152,659, leaving the council with a shortfall of £8,051.
This shortfall will be funded from a specific reserve set up to support children and young people. A new director of education is due to start in May.
The three men were taken on in January because the retirement of senior officers had left Monmouthshire’s education department lacking leadership and it needed staff to prepare and implement an action plan for improvement following a damning Estyn report, which found it was failing.
He said: “On one side we are advocating more cuts of support to our children and the other hand paying out lots and lots of money to highly paid consultants. Iam not convinced that simply bringing them in is going to solve the problem.
“It reminds me of a football team facing relegation at the end of a long battle, and in desperation they bring in high-paid players in the hope that they will turn things around, when really it’s a management issue more often than not.”
A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said: “We have always been clear our education service cannot be left without management in the transition period prior to the new chief officer starting work in May.
“So we have recruited a high-quality team with a proven track record in managing excellent education services to provide us with interim management.
Most of the cost of these people is being met from the savings in vacant senior posts in the service.”