Council paying £990 a day for member of staff

By Joseph Macey

31st Aug 2022 | Local News

County Hall.
County Hall.

By Richard Whitehouse - LDR

Cornwall Council is paying almost £1,000 a day for an interim member of staff after the authority's monitoring officer left for Australia.

Melanie O'Sullivan left the council earlier this month and the authority had to appoint someone in her place whilst they recruit a permanent officer.

It has been revealed that the council is paying the employment agency it uses for temporary staff "just over £990" a day. It should be noted that this is not the salary being paid to the interim officer. The council said there are no additional costs to the council for the interim officer.

As the council's constitution states that it has to have a designated monitoring officer in place the council was not able to leave the post empty whilst carrying out the recruitment process. Karen Trickey was appointed in the role on August 17th in a decision made by council leader Linda Taylor.

Melanie O'Sullivan left her post on August 24th and it was previously announced at a council meeting that she was relocating to Australia. Cornwall Council said that she served her full notice period and that "the procurement of a search agent" to recruit a permanent holder of the post started the week after she resigned.

However, the council has said that anyone coming into the role may not be able to take up the post until the end of the year. The recruitment process is expected to run over the next two months with final interviews being held in October.

Cornwall Council has said that the benchmarked rate for a monitoring officer, who has to be a qualified and experienced lawyer, would be £950 to £1,500 a day. The salary for the permanent officer would be up to £115,000.

The functions of the monitoring officer are stated as:

  • Maintaining the Constitution
  • Ensuring lawfulness and fairness of decision making
  • Supporting the Standards Committee
  • Conducting investigations
  • Being the Proper Officer for Access to Information
  • Advising whether Cabinet decisions are within the Budget and Policy Framework
  • Providing advice
  • Being responsible for all Monitoring Officer functions in respect of Parish/Town/City Councils within Cornwall (to the extent required by statute)
  • Making arrangements in conjunction with the Standards Committee for the provision of advice and training to Members of the Council and Parish/Town/City Councils on the ethical framework
  • Maintaining and updating the Register of Members' interests as required by the Code of Conduct.

Cornwall Council said that the permanent post holder was likely to have to serve three months' notice to take up the role and would be in place by the end of December at the latest.

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