Anger as ‘highly-paid’ housing boss taken on in Sheffield

Coun Penny Baker, Lib Dem housing spokeswoman
Coun Penny Baker, Lib Dem housing spokeswoman
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CASH-strapped Sheffield Council has been criticised for ‘splashing out’ by creating two new director posts as the authority brings housing management back under its control.

An interim director of integration, with a salary of about £80,000 per annum, has been hired.

Meanwhile, a permament director of housing services is also being recruited.

The interim director will manage the transfer of 42,000 homes from Sheffield Homes to the council.

But the decision to create the posts comes as Sheffield Homes staff are waiting to find out how many will lose their jobs when the organisation is wound up in April.

The council plans to save £1.2 million a year on management costs – a large proportion from job losses.

One Sheffield Homes employee said: “The transfer of housing to council control was supposed to be about saving money.

“We already have senior management supposed to be overseeing the changeover and the decision to hire the interim director comes when we face an uncertain future and people don’t know if they’ll be keeping their jobs.”

Mark Keeling, branch secretary for trade union Unite, said: “Haven’t the council capable of doing these jobs from within their ranks at the moment?

“The council should be using its money to protect front-line services from Government cuts.

“I’m concerned it is splashing out on management when our members face redundancy.”

Coun Penny Baker, Lib eral Democrat opposition housing spokeswoman, said: “While Labour is always complaining about a lack of money, it seems hard to justify taking on another highly-paid council director.

“It’s particularly unfair on Sheffield Homes staff who have faced a Christmas of uncertainty.”

The council said it has recruited Isobel Riley, former chief executive of South Tyneside Homes, as interim director of integration, to start in February.

She is on a six-month contract with a pay grade of £78,757-£81,645 per annum and will replace two current directors.

Richard Webb, council executive director for communities, said: “We are creating a six-month, fixed-term post as part of the work to integrate the council and Sheffield Homes.

“This post will provide capacity to assist with the service transfer, given that two current directors from the council and Sheffield Homes are leaving.

“This post, and the permanent director of housing services are factored into our savings target.”