Burnley resident slams Burnley Council costs to replace chief executive as 'waste of tax payers' money'

Burnley Borough Council has defended the money it spent in advertising for a new chief executive and chief operating officer before an internal appointment was made.
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Burnley resident Stuart Green contacted the Burnley Express to complain about the approximate £40,000 cost spent on appointing a new town hall boss following chief executive Mick Cartledge’s retirement earlier this year.

Previous chief operating officer Lukman Patel was chosen to replace Mr Cartledge in April. Mr Cartledge announced his retirement in January, following more than five years in the post.

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But Mr Green said of the process: “I would like to know why £40,000 of tax payers’ money has been spent on recruiting a chief executive and chief operating officer, when both positions have been filled internally.

Burnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin StuttardBurnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Burnley Town Hall. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“This is a blatant waste of tax payers’ money, no doubt to be justified by spin, but a disgrace in our current times. Both posts have been filled by insiders, it seems a blatant waste of public money. I’m sure the council will say they were the best candidates.”

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A Burnley Council spokesperson said: “We take a similar approach to many other councils when appointing to such senior roles. It is expensive, but due to the importance of both roles, an extensive and robust recruitment process must be undertaken.

“This includes nationwide advertisement of the vacancies, technical interviews, an assessment centre and several panel interviews.

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“The council has a specific duty under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to ensure that all appointments are made on merit and it was vital that the process attracted all possible candidates of a sufficiently high calibre.

“The council engaged recruitment experts from an organisation called North West Employers to help us deliver this process because they have extensive experience of recruiting to senior posts

“Both internal and external candidates proceeded to the final interviews for both posts and the appointments panel reached its decisions unanimously and on merit in accordance with the council’s policy and the requirements of the roles."

A budget of £20,000 was set aside to cover the cost of recruiting to each position. The actual total cost was £34,000.