Peterborough council appoints full-time finance chief

A full-time finance chief has been appointed at Peterborough City Council.
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Current interim Peter Carpenter will be paid a basic salary of between £110,175 and £134,659 to become the permanent director of resources.

The authority has used temporary arrangements since 2017 when the former corporate director for resources John Harrison resigned from the role.

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The council said at the time that Mr Harrison had resigned from his position “to pursue other opportunities,” with no further explanation given.

Peterborough City Council  leader John  Holdich (left) and Peter Carpenter EMN-200214-155921009Peterborough City Council  leader John  Holdich (left) and Peter Carpenter EMN-200214-155921009
Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich (left) and Peter Carpenter EMN-200214-155921009

His sudden departure led to accusations of secrecy with a Peterborough Telegraph Freedom of Information request for all documents and correspondence relating to the resignation being refused by the council which claimed it would breach data protection principles.

In his final year in the job Mr Harrison received £184,572, including pension contributions.

The role of chief finance officer is the only executive position which is not shared between the city council and Cambridgeshire County Council, with both authorities having separate post-holders.

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Recruitment to the role in Peterborough has been delayed “due to the focus on the budget-setting process in 2020/21 and then more recently the impact of Covid,” the council previously said.

Mr Carpenter was previously head of finance for Westminster City Council.

He Joined Peterborough City Council in 2017.

Mr Carpenter joined the council in July 2017 as Service Director for Finance and deputy S151 Officer. In April 2018 he was appointed as interim director of resources and his permanent appointment to the role was confirmed by the council’s employment committee this week.

Mr Carpenter (56) has 31 years experience of working in local government for a number of authorities.

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He will be responsible for supporting the administration to deliver the council’s financial and commercial priorities, which includes good financial management and delivering a balanced budget to protect frontline services which residents rely on.

One of his key priorities will be supporting the council’s drive to make efficiency savings following substantial reductions in government funding over the past decade and unprecedented financial pressures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of these pressures, he will work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) making the council’s case for a fairer funding settlement.

Mr Carpenter will also work to ensure that expenditure against the budget follows proper rules of financial accounting and deliver high quality financial advice and support to the council’s officers and members.

Councillor David Seaton, cabinet member for resources, said: “In his three years here Pete has proved to be an outstanding financial leader and we’re delighted to confirm his permanent appointment as Director of Resources. His role will continue to be highly challenging, so his vast experience and acumen will be of great value to us in these financially difficult times.”

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Mr Carpenter’s salary was agreed by the cross-party employment committee in accordance with the nationally recognised Hay scheme pay policy. The committee agreed a salary band of between £113,205 and £138,362.

Outside of work, Mr Carpenter, who is married with two teenage children, enjoys hobbies including playing Water Polo, in which he has competed to a national league level and Athletics, in which he has competed for and managed the Bedford and County Men’s Athletics Team.