3:37pm Friday 8th March 2013
By Jaber Mohamed
Harrow East MP Bob Blackman says it is “utterly ridiculous” that Harrow Borough Council has spent more than £660,000 paying suspended staff not to work.
Figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Mr Blackman show the council has paid 97 suspended members of staff between April 2009 and February 2012.
The Conservative MP accused the council of being "bad value for money” despite cutting services and raising council tax.
He said: “It is utterly ridiculous that the council is taking, in some cases, nearly one year to process an individual case.”
A council employee who was accused of gross misconduct received £44,000 during an investigation lasting 284 days that resulted in the staff member’s dismissal.
Another employee who was also dismissed was paid £16,000 during a suspension which lasted 176 days.
It has cost the council £260,000 to cover the salaries of 25 members who were eventually dismissed after their suspension.
A further 14 investigations resulted in staff receiving final written warnings.
Mr Blackman said that during the 2009/10 financial year it cost the council £99,000 to pay 23 suspended staff members for an average length of 80 days.
During the current financial year 36 members of staff have been suspended and they have cost £233,000 today with the average suspension time being 88 days.
The Harrow East MP accused the council of having no control over the problem and added: “The problem is getting progressively worse rather than better.
“Suspensions are up by nearly a third; costs have more than doubled; and the length of time to handle them has increased.”
In January it was revealed that the authority had paid a suspended senior education officer who was under investigation by the police £137,000 over two and a half years.
The Harrow Times is awaiting a response from the council.
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