Proposed new chief executives at Peterborough’s mayoral body did not formally apply for role despite £19k recruitment fees

The proposed new chief executives at Peterborough’s mayoral body did not formally apply for the role, despite £19,000 being spent on recruitment consultancy fees.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 1:34 pm
Mayor James Palmer

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is expected to rubber stamp the appointments of John Hill and Kim Sawyer as joint chief execs at its board meeting on May 29.

This was despite 20 other candidates applying for the role and £19,000 spent on recruitment fees.

Last week Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council and combined authority board member, alleged more than £30,000 had been spent on recruitment consultancy fees for the chief executive position.

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He also claimed that the combined authority had spent £94,000 between November and March on recruitment consultancy fees to hire senior officials.

Both figures have now been rejected by the authority, which said it cost £19,000 for the chief executive recruitment process, while the £94,000 was paid to Green Park Ltd. Of that figure, £80,000 was related to “fees due for the services of the interim monitoring officer of the combined authority”.

Asked by the Peterborough Telegraph if Mr Hill and Mrs Sawyer had applied to be chief executive, a combined authority spokesman said: “The mayor reviewed the work undertaken by John and Kim in their time as interim joint chief executives and considered that there had been a strong performance and that the partnership had worked well.

“The mayor therefore proposed that this arrangement should continue to build on the progress and provide the optimum opportunity for delivery of the ambitious plans of the combined authority.

“The combined authority’s constitution states that it may directly employ or may second a member of staff from within the constituent councils and this includes the head of paid service (chief executive) role.”

Mrs Sawyer will also continue as director of corporate services as well as joint chief executive.

The pair will both be paid more than £160,000, but the combined authority said this will lead to an annual £62,000 saving compared to the previous arrangement.

Mayor Palmer, leader of the combined authority, also said Mr Hill and Mrs Sawyer had saved the authority £1.8 million after a staffing restructure.

The former chief executive was Martin Whiteley who departed last August with a pay-out of £94,500 having been on a salary of £182,000 a year.

The combined authority has responsibility for major infrastructure and housing projects, including the new University of Peterborough.