Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Caerphilly Council accused of ‘wasting money’ on job ads

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

The council’s main opposition leader has criticised the council for “wasting money” on job advertising, following an internal appointment to the new deputy CEO role. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s former director of social services, Dave Street, was appointed as the new deputy chief executive in May. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A Freedom of Information request by Plaid Cymru revealed that £5,881 was spent on advertising the deputy CEO role. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “After 27 years every councillor knew that Dave Street was a highly competent and accomplished officer, so the council should have advertised internally first and if no-one was thought to be up to scratch then gone outside. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Myself and Plaid’s former leader Colin Mann had previously suggested a deputy chief executive should be appointed from staff internally. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Sadly, the council decided to go outside – but we ended up with the result just about everyone could have forecast. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I was always told to watch the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves – something I think could have been followed here.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Between April 2021 and April 2023, £88,000 was spent on advertising vacancies at the council. Of which, £23,000 was spent on advertising the head of housing (£13,494) and chief housing officer (£9,374) roles. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Whittle, who represents Penyrheol, said: “I do find the amount spent on advertising housing posts to be absolutely staggering. I’d like an explanation of this level of spending.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A council spokesperson has said: “In a time of a national recruitment crisis, it is important that Caerphilly is considered an employer of choice to be able to continue to deliver over 600 services to more than 175,500 residents. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“As one of the largest employers in the region the spend relates to recruitment at all levels, across the workforce, over a two year period, and effective advertising is an important part of talent acquisition. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“With regard to the spend quoted for the advertising of senior roles, all councils must follow Welsh Government legislation when recruiting chief officers which requires such posts to be advertised in such a way as is likely to bring it to the attention of persons who are qualified to apply for it, for example with external advertising. This is also specified within the council’s constitution.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The controversial introduction of a deputy chief executive and a deputy section 151 officer was approved by the council’s cabinet in October 2022, despite opposition councillors criticising the amount of money being spent. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Street, who has worked at the council for 27 years, will now be on a salary of £140,969 and work alongside the current chief executive Christina Harrhy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council is yet to appoint someone to the deputy section 151 officer role, which has an advertised salary of between £72,032 and £79,823. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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