Senior council bosses worth every £378,477

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HOW many pounds does it take to recruit a senior council officer?

More than £20,000 if you’re Milton Keynes Council.

The authority has splashed out £378,477 in the last three year to bring in 17 senior executives – at a cost of £22,263 each.

In 2009 alone the council spent £320,854.66 to bring in a new chief executive, three corporate directors and nine assistant directors.

The expenses included almost £1,5000 on hotel accommodation and refreshments for candidates applying for the chief exec position and more than £1,000 spent on internal catering to help bring in a new director of children’s services.

But the vast amount of money went on ‘Search/Selection Services’ – cash spent on recruitment consultancies and covering candidates’ expenses, printing and courier costs.

More than £274,000 was spent on such services in the last three years.

The council insists the money needed to be spent to recruit top quality managers.

A spokesman said the appointment processes were approved on a cross-party basis to provide ‘effective budget and project management.’

He added: “Since 2009 there has been a high degree of stability at senior management levels at the council, so recruitment costs have been much lower.

“By investing money to recruit the right managers, of the right calibre the council has secured real benefits.”

The information was obtained via a Freedom of Information request submitted by this newspaper to the council, Thames Valley Police and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Despite having more than a month to answer our question, Thames Valley Police were unable to come up with a final answer as figures relating to advertising spend were not available.

However, a spokesman said police did not spend a penny on travel, accommodation or refreshments during the recruitment of six senior management posts in the last three years.

The spokesman added: “We have paid costs for advertising some of these roles externally, where appropriate.

The Force has undergone significant restructure to support our budget cuts and has only advertised externally when unable to appoint internally.”

In the same three-year period Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service spent £36,645 to recruit senior staff.

David Rowlands, chairman of Bucks and Milton Keynes Fire Authority, said: “The figures show the investment the authority has made in order to ensure fair and open process is used when undertaking recruitment.”