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Council boss paid £500,000 exit package - then gets new job

PUBLISHED: 10:35 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:04 16 October 2020

Sandra Dinneen's exit package from South Norfolk Council totalled around £540,000. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Sandra Dinneen's exit package from South Norfolk Council totalled around £540,000. Picture: South Norfolk Council

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A council boss received an exit package worth around £500,000 - only to then start a new job.

The payment to former South Norfolk District Council chief executive, Sandra Dinneen, highlights a gap in the pension system which allows council workers to get their money early, aged 55, but then keep working.

She left the council in April 2019, just after turning 55, meaning she was entitled to the money through the Local Government Pension Scheme.

It meant that around half of the £900,000 restructuring costs paid by South Norfolk and Broadland District councils as it merged its leadership teams went to Ms Dinneen.

South Norfolk Council spent £590,000 in exit packages.

Sandra Dinneen left as chief executive of South Norfolk Council last April. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilSandra Dinneen left as chief executive of South Norfolk Council last April. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Its former head of environmental services received just over £50,000 and Ms Dinneen is understood to have received around £500,000.

We sent a series of questions to the council about the payment, but a spokesman said: “It is not appropriate to go into the circumstances or packages of individual former employees.”

After leaving the council Ms Dinneen became a consultant and last month she was named as the new chief executive of Priscilla Bacon Hospice.

She will begin that role in January.

A council spokesman said: “Back in 2018, in the face of significant budget reductions, South Norfolk and Broadland councils agreed a plan to merge the staff of their two councils.

“This plan was focussed on growing capacity, opportunity and productivity along with initial anticipated savings in excess of £8m over five years.

“The figure for reducing the senior management costs was just over £900,000 across the two authorities.”

They added that while the exit package was a “significant figure” it had been “more than paid back in savings through the merger of the two councils’ staff teams.”

As previously reported, Norfolk council exit packages topped £1.8m last year.

Ms Dinneen’s exit package was the largest, but not the only six-figure sum.

Former joint head of service at North Norfolk District Council, Nick Baker, had an exit package of £388,919, also formed of taking an early pension.

Last year, the government ran a consultation on capping public sector exit packages at £95,000.


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