Town Council staff treated to £600 of Mall vouchers

Bradley Stoke Town Council

All but one of the staff on the payroll of Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) have been rewarded with £50 Mall vouchers “in recognition of good work to date and assistance in raising the profile of BSTC”, according to the draft minutes of last week’s Full Council meeting.

The news is revealed in the minuted account of a discussion item titled ‘Chairs recommendation on Annual Staff Appraisals’, from which the press and public were excluded. In the minutes, we learn that Mayor Ben Walker recommended:

“On completion of the new staff appraisals for 2010/11, the Chairs of the council committees would like to pay special thanks to the BSTC members of staff for their conduct, support and flexibility throughout 2010/11 and the implementation of the staffing restructure. Those staff members are: Rachel Pullen, John Rendell, Pat Louca, Vicky Davies, Sue Clark, Vanessa Walters, William Walton, Stephen Barton, Elaine Bezer, Patricia Harris, Royston Broderick and Dave Dace.”

The “staffing restructure” at the Town Council would appear to have been going on for some now, having first came to light in April 2010 when the Council held an ‘Extraordinary and Confidential’ meeting. Later, in June 2010, the profile of the then Deputy Town Clerk Lesley Osborne mysteriously disappeared from the staff list shown on the Council’s website. A press statement later explained that the officer had retired and that “no decision on the post would be taken until the results of the on-going staffing review are presented to Council.”

The Council’s 2011 Annual Report, published in April, explains that the role of Deputy Town Clerk role is not a full-time position and has now been taken on by the Council’s Premises Manager, John Rendell.

Further details of the restructuring are unknown because they have been consistently categorised as “confidential” in Council minutes.

The minutes of last week’s meeting continue:

“Council considers our staff team to be of the highest standards in comparison to other local councils and BSTC success is down to that team supporting, preparing and undertaking council’s wishes and being the face of the council on a day-to-day basis.”

“It has been council’s decision to award each named member of staff £50.00 worth of ‘Mall Cribbs Causeway’ vouchers in recognition of good work to date and assistance in raising the profile of BSTC.”

On going to a vote, the recommendation was carried, with nine Councillors in favour, one against and one abstaining.

The first draft of the Town Council’s 2011/2012 budget (the only one made available to the public) showed staff salaries amounting to £296,300, annotated as being a drop of 2.99% on the previous year “following restructure”. A further £45,000 was budgeted to be spent on contractor staff.

[Ed: Worrying to see from the minutes that the Chairs had made “Council’s decision” to award vouchers before the item was even put to a vote of the Full Council!]

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  1. This just goes to show that nothing has been learnt from the disgraceful troughnig by Westminster MPs.

    You are spending OUR money yet actively seek to deny us transparency and visibility of your decisions. Disgraceful but not entirely unexpected.

  2. This is an absolute disgrace. The staff are public servants and receive pay for what they do. The councillors who agreed this bonus should be ashamed of themselves and like the MP’s who abused their position should resign NOW.

    This is a blatant misuse of public money and should be referred to the Auditors.

  3. @JonBoy, In case you want to do that yourself, the Council’s auditors are:


    Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Complaints Policy can be found here: Policies and Procedures

  4. What’s so wrong with this? These are staff – not councillors (I believe?) and they are deemed to be doing a good job (and none of us are really in a position to dispute that are we?) – so why not give them a bonus to reward them? Do we really want a load of discontented people carrying out the town’s business?

    Some companies may not be paying bonuses in these difficult times although I’m sure a lot still are – mine is twice a year, and I got a heck of a lot more than £50 mall vouchers.

    So well done staff – keep up the good work.

  5. JonBoy, like you they are local goverment employees, and if the elected representatives choose to reward the staff, it is they who are accountable. Sadly Bristol City Council, who you work for, is not as effective, efficent or productive as Bradley Stoke Town Council, where the staff work very hard and in partnership with all the elected Conservative councillors. Besides as a Liberal are you not for equality for all.

  6. I understand that companies reward their staff with bonuses but this usually comes out of company profits! Public servants are there to serve the public and are paid out of public funds, I see this as a load of people having a shopping trip to the Mall paid for out of the council tax that I have paid!
    I’m sure i could have been put to better use locally!

    What are the tax implications on these vouchers? Did the local council tax payer fund this as well?

    And just to rub salt in the wound they are vouchers for the Mall and not for local shopping!!!

    This just doesn’t sit right with me.

  7. I agree with Victor. Although on a smaller scale, this is congruent to MPs’ second homes, funded with taxpayer money.
    £600 is not much, though it is the principle that is wrong; unethical use of public money.

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