County Hall chief was given at least £95,000 when he quit Northamptonshire County Council

Former chief executive Paul Blantern left with a financial package of in excess of £100,000 Northamptonshire County Council has finally revealed.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 9:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st December 2017, 9:06 pm
Paul Blantern with Sajid Javid at the opening of the council's 53m Angel House headquarters.

The local authority - which is in such financial dire straits that it may be forced to cut statutory services next year - also states in the reply to this newspaper's Freedom of Information request that Mr Blantern resigned.

In answering questions submitted on November 11, the council says: "A payment was made to Mr Blantern as part of his resignation.

"A payment of £95,000 was made to Mr Blantern in addition to usual employee entitlements."

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Attempts to clarify what the 'usual employee entitlements' are in Mr Blantern's case have been unsuccessful. This newspaper was told it would have to submit a second FOI request to be given that additional information. An indication was given that this will take at least 20 working days.

Confusingly, the council's reply also states the official explanation given ever since Mr Blantern announced his departure in October, that he left by mutual agreement. A statement released by County Hall also reverted to the former official line.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “The former chief executive and Northamptonshire County Council reached a mutual agreement for him to leave the council earlier this year. In order to secure a quick transition in the interests of the council, a payment was agreed.”

The pay-out to the former chair of the Government's Libraries Taskforce came in the same month as it was announced at least 21 libraries in the council are set to close because the council cannot afford them.

A month earlier, the Mr Blantern-led Next Generation model - which was supposed to transform the council, saving money - had been criticised by an independent review.

The Local Government Association said it was unaffordable, there was no evidence it would work and was distracting staff from their other tasks. They also said staff and councillors could not understand it and there was not enough of them to carry it out.

Mr Blantern is currently believed to be unemployed.