Wales politics

Review launched after Caerphilly council chief pay saga

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Media captionCaerphilly council chief pay saga prompts review

A rapid review has been launched to consider the arrangements for investigating alleged misconduct by senior council officers.

It follows the dismissal of Caerphilly council's chief executive, after a six-year suspension on full pay.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said he wanted to ensure the events that unfolded in Caerphilly "will not be repeated".

Recommendations are expected in the New Year, he added.

Anthony O'Sullivan was suspended in March 2013 after claims over wage increases for him and two other senior officers.

Image caption Anthony O'Sullivan has said he will appeal against his dismissal

He was sacked for gross misconduct last week - a decision he intends to appeal against.

It was claimed that at a meeting in September 2012, Mr O'Sullivan, his deputy Nigel Barnett and head of legal services Daniel Perkins authorised a 20% pay rise for senior officers, while most other staff had a pay freeze.

After criminal charges were dropped in 2015, the two other men agreed payouts worth £300,000 between them.

Mr O'Sullivan has been on special leave for three years.

It has meant he has been paid his salary of £137,000 a year for six-and-a-half years without turning up to work.

Mr O'Sullivan previously told BBC Wales that he has "nothing to apologise for".

Image caption Mark Drakeford said the current system "has not worked"

In a statement to assembly members, Local Government minister Julie James said the review, to be carried out by Peter Oldham QC, would include comparing arrangements in Wales with those in other parts of the UK.

It would also consider "the extent to which arrangements achieve the right balance between protecting officers...and the speed with which process are conducted and concluded".

Caerphilly assembly member Hefin David told the assembly on Tuesday: "Disreputable, dishonest and should have been dismissed long ago - these are the views of Caerphilly residents about Anthony O'Sullivan, the disgraced and now finally dismissed chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council."

Mr David asked the first minister to give a commitment that the review would "ensure the misery that has been inflicted on the Caerphilly County Borough for the past seven years cannot be repeated".

Mr Drakeford said: "The current system has not worked and needs to be reformed."

"I look forward to us being able to come back to the assembly as rapidly as we are able to in order to ensure that the events that unfolded in Caerphilly will not be repeated elsewhere," he added.

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