June 6, 2019 10.45 am This story is over 58 months old

Ex county council CEO handed almost £300k pay-off for six months of work

He announced he was leaving after four months

Former Lincolnshire County Council chief executive Keith Ireland was paid £292,263 by the authority for less than six months of work – around £1,234 a day.

The council previously refused to disclose the ex-CEO’s pay-off, but the figures have now been revealed in the council’s legally required statement of accounts.

According to this, Ireland was paid a salary of £133,875 as part of a compensation for loss of employment.

Lincolnshire County Council statement of accounts for chief executive, Keith Ireland, for the period July 2018 to December 2018.

He received a total package of £292,263 which included his agreed salary, £975 in outplacement services, £8,901 holiday pay and £14,637 in employer’s pension contribution and his compensation payment.

According to a Freedom of Information request, Ireland was contracted to £178,500 salary a year for his role as CEO.

Ireland announced he would be leaving the post after just four months.

Lincolnshire County Council said at the time the move was a mutual decision.

In a joint statement released by council leader Martin Hill at the time the pair said they “did not share the same approach” but “wished each other the very best for the future”.

Legal advisors also gagged councillors from speaking out further about his departure.

He stepped down from the council in November 2018 and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours for services to local government two months later.

Lincolnshire County Council leader, Martin Hill, reportedly disagreed with Keith Ireland on a “number of important issues”. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Hill said the decision to arrive at an agreement with Ireland was the most “cost-effective” way to bring the matter to a close.

“During Keith’s time with the council, it became clear that there was a difference of opinion on a number of important issues, and we both decided that a parting of ways was for the best,” he said.

“In such circumstances, it is not unusual for a payment to be made.

“There are strict rules in place on the terms of such agreements, and it must be shown that this approach offers taxpayers the best value for money.

“Over the last few years, the council has successfully reduced its senior management pay bill by around 40 percent.

“We are very happy with the way in which our senior management team is currently leading the authority and have no plans to replace Keith at the present time.

“And that will mean a substantial saving for taxpayers.”

Previous roles in local government

Before landing the job at Lincolnshire County Council, Keith Ireland was the Managing Director at the City of Wolverhampton Council for four years.

His previous permanent roles included two years as corporate director at Thurrock Council. He was at Wolverhampton Council for six years in total.

Before this he had worked in at a number of local authorities including interim roles at London Borough of Enfield (1 year), Northumberland County Council (8 months), Manchester City Council (5 months), Cheshire West and Chester Council Shadow Authority (4 months) and Charnwood Borough Council (7 months).

He made headlines in 2011 as it emerged his consultancy role at Northumberland County Council was costing the authority around £1,175 a day for six months, and again for an alleged scathing email to a councillor.

Following his departure from LCC, he took the role of interim assistant chief executive at St Helen’s Council.

It is unclear how much his new position will pay, however, his new boss is reportedly on a salary of £145,688.

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