27th May 2018
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SIC dismisses concerns over payment to new chief executive by ex-employer

4 comments, , by , in News

Shetland Islands Council is fully confident that there was nothing untoward about an “honorarium” payment its new chief executive received from his former employer in Wiltshire. 

Mark Boden was unveiled yesterday as the local authority’s replacement for the soon-to-depart Alistair Buchan, and it is hoped he will be able to take up the post in early October.

There has been some speculation on Facebook and elsewhere regarding a payment of £10,360 which Mr Boden received for taking on extra work and responsibilities when Kennet District Council was being wound up in 2008.

But SIC convener Malcolm Bell said the matter had been known about and “fully investigated” by its recruitment consultants and they were “fully satisfied that there is no reason for us to be concerned”. 

Mr Boden told The Shetland Times that Kennet District Council had faced a difficult challenge to keep public services running while simultaneously winding down the district council in an orderly manner and working to set up a new, larger authority. That led to a number of people “working very long hours” and doing “all sorts of extra work beyond their normal job”. 

“The councillors at Kennet decided to pay them an honorarium, partly because they were taking on responsibility, and partly as a retention measure to encourage people to stay to the end of the council,” he said.

Mr Boden said the matter was later picked up by the auditors of the newly-constituted Wiltshire Council. The auditors identified a “technical problem” in the way they payments were accounted for, he said.

“But they said there was no dishonesty and they didn’t recommend any sort of action, nothing flowed from it, nobody was disciplined, nobody was prosecuted, nobody sought to retrieve money,” he stressed.

The 54-year-old then became corporate director of Wiltshire Council before being made redundant as part of a senior management restructure in late 2011.

Speaking about the appointment, Mr Bell said Mr Boden had vast experience of local government and had a great track record in redesigning how key services are delivered. He had been particularly impressed by the extent to which Mr Boden had “done his homework” on Shetland.

 
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4 comments

  1. Douglas Young

    The payments were hidden and in the words of KPMG “insufficiently documented”; Freedom of Information requests were refused and it was only on the instruction of the Information Commissioner that the Council was forced to disclose the payments. If you work more/less hours and are on a salary, that salary is full recompense.
    Private Eye is far more than a satirical magazine, and has uncovered many corrupt practices before many broadsheets and nationals.
    The one thing Shetland needs now is total transparency in all it’s financial business, and full and open dialogue with this, and any other, media. In the public interest.

    Reply
  2. Andrew J Hughson

    My sentiments entirely Douglas.

    Reply
  3. Linda Tait

    I wonder if he did his homework on the amount of public scrutiny he will be subjected to?

    Reply
  4. Ernie Clark

    Mr. Boden omits to mention that KPMG ‘question the basis upon which the payments were made’, particularly the part of the KPMG report (section 4.1.7 d) which states ‘It is questionable whether senior officers like the Chief Executive …. should have received such an award …. because of (i) their involvment in the decision making process, and (ii) the fact that what they were supposed to have done to justify their payments might be argued to have been part of their job.’

    Reply

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