Tagged: Tracy Harvey

Middlesbrough Council senior official to receive pay rise of up to £18k

> There’s still plenty of money out there if you know where to look for it…

A senior Middlesbrough Council officer is to receive a pay rise of up to £18,000 as part of a management shake-up.

Director of Transformation Tony Parkinson is to become executive director of commercial and corporate services.

It is a move which boosts his annual salary from £95,000 to between £102,681 and £113,484.

Mr Parkinson took up the controversial ‘director of transformation‘ position overseeing council cuts in June last year.

> Director of Transformation – isn’t that nice ? You’ve not been sacked, you’ve been transformed into an unemployed person.  Your local library has not been closed, its been transformed into an empty building.

And now he’s successfully transforming his bank balance.

That role will now be scrapped and Mr Parkinson’s previous duties will “form the substantive element” of his new job, it has been confirmed.

The change is part of a major overhaul of the council’s senior management structure which has been announced by Mayor Ray Mallon.

The shake-up will also lead to three more councillors receiving special allowances of more than £12,000 by increasing the number of “executive” members from six to nine.

Mr Mallon defended the changes, saying they would create a “leaner and smarter organisation”.

The council has a workforce of over 4,000 people, and I have always regarded councillors as part of that workforce,” he said.

“We have made huge savings within the management structure over the last two to three years, but I have felt in recent months that we are exposing the organisation to increased risk as a result.

“That is the reason that I have decided that the management of the council should be restructured, as well as strengthening the Executive.”

The three extra Executive members will cost nearly £37,000 in allowances.

But Mr Mallon said the changes were needed due to a significant fall in the number of senior managers, and the need to increase focus on education and caring for vulnerable children.

An increase to nine Executive councillors, each receiving an allowance of just over £12,000, is as cost-effective, as to employ two officers at that level would cost at least £90,000,” said Mr Mallon.

The changes come as the number of senior managers fell from 22 to 12 in the past four years – cutting almost £1m in staff costs.

It also comes as the authority tackles huge ongoing budget tightening which has seen numerous services cut back or axed and hundreds of jobs gone.

> But luckily they’ve still got all those executives on increased money. Who needs actual workers anyway ?

The new senior management structure follows the appointment of Mike Robinson as chief executive – on a salary of £140,000 – and consists of three executive directors and nine assistant directors.

Mr Parkinson will be joined by Kevin Parkes, executive director of economic development and communities, and an executive director of wellbeing, care and learning, a role yet to be filled.

Under the councillor reshuffle, three new roles will be created.

:: Cllr Jean Sharrocks (Brookfield, Labour) will be responsible for children’s social care;

:: Cllr Brenda Thompson (Nunthorpe, Independent) will oversee supporting communities;

:: New portfolios of education/skills and commercial assets/income will be taken on by Cllrs Jan Brunton (Coulby Newham, Labour) and Steve Bloundele (Linthorpe, Labour) respectively.

:: Cllrs Tracy Harvey (Gresham, Labour) and Jean Sharrocks (Brookfield, Labour) have moved up to become executive members responsible for environment and children’s social care respectively – each receiving double their previous allowances.

Executive members receive an allowance of £12,260 – while assistant executives get £6,130.

Cllrs Brunton and Bloundele have moved into the Executive while Cllr Nicky Walker – who was Executive member for environment – has taken on Cllr Brunton’s former role as chairwoman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette   08 May 2014

£93,200 in unclaimed benefits uncovered in Middlesbrough

A benefits study in two Middlesbrough suburbs has revealed almost £100,000 of entitlements going unclaimed.

The project could now be rolled out across the town, ranked eighth across the country in the index of multiple deprivation, following the results of the ‘It’s your right to claim’ campaign.

Money experts spent a week in Coulby Newham and Hemlington in March when they spoke to 1,000 people which flagged up 52 potential new claims for help.

Along with a number of follow-up calls made to Middlesbrough Citizen Advice Bureau it is estimated that £93,200 in unclaimed benefits has been identified to assist these residents.

Councillor Tracy Harvey, Middlebrough Council’s executive lead for welfare reform, said: “It may well be that we have only scratched the service and we will now need to look at rolling this project out across Middlesbrough.

“This campaign is about removing any stigma attached to welfare and letting people know what their circumstances entitle them to.

“The amount of money we have found going unclaimed in such a short space of time is a real eye-opener and shows this is an important issue that we need to tackle.”

Latest statistics show 24 per cent of householders in the town claim disability benefit and 7.5 per cent are in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Nationally, up to 620,000 people are to claim up to £2bn in income support, and employment and support allowance.

John Daniels, Manager of Middlesbrough Citizen’s Advice Bureau, said: “Many people in Middlesbrough are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

“At a time when household expenses like gas and electricity seem to be constantly rising, it is important that local people receive all the income to which they are entitled. Campaigns like this are a useful way of ensuring that happens.”

> So that’s £93,200 in unclaimed benefits in just two areas of one town. Now extend this across the North East.  Then across the rest of the UK…

Source – Northern Echo  02 May 2014