Wales politics

Public sector pay-offs save money, audit office says

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Media captionAuditor Matthew Mortlock warns services can suffer if key staff leave

Large pay-offs for senior staff can help councils and other public sector bodies save money in the long run, a spending watchdog has said.

Despite public criticism of some deals a Wales Audit Office report said the way the process was being handled was "satisfactory" overall.

It said the £254m spent on early exit packages over four years could result in savings of up to £305m a year.

But auditors warned that leaving posts vacant could add to workforce stress.

'Value' question

More than 10,000 staff left the 58 public bodies in Wales in early departure schemes between April 2010 and December 2013, the report said.

  • National Museum Wales gave the highest average pay-out of £100,042 as 28 staff shared £2,801,186
  • Ceredigion council gave the lowest average pay-out of £9,341 as 292 staff shared £2,727,456
  • Cardiff council saw the most early exits as 1,071 staff left with an average pay-out of £25,177
  • The Welsh government shed a higher proportion of its staff - 15% - than any other sector, with 977 departures at an average of £49,983

Darren Millar, chairman of the public accounts committee, said: "Public bodies need to demonstrate value for money and ensure that they are managing effectively the impact on service delivery of these departures."

The Welsh government said it was "important that we respond to pressures on public spending", adding that "clear value for money criteria are applied" when staff numbers are cut with voluntary pay-offs.

Image copyright Wales Audit Office

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