Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council gave former Chief Executive Harry Catherall a £130,000 pay-off when he ‘retired’ in April 2019.
The massive pay-off is recorded as “compensation for loss of office” in the Council’s 2019/20 Statement of Accounts.
At the time of Mr Catherall leaving the Council, his departure was portrayed as a happy retirement with glowing tribute paid to him by senior Council figures. The question now is why Blackburn with Darwen taxpayers had to pick up a £130,000 bill for him to retire.
The Council’s Pay Policy states that “compensation payments for loss of office are considered in situations where the employment relationship is no longer tenable”. So Mr Catherall’s departure cannot have been the amicable retirement portrayed unless the Council broke its own Pay Policy. The Pay Policy also states that the Council will ensure that any such payments “represent value for money to the taxpayer”. The Council should explain how funding Mr Catherall’s retirement to the tune of £130,000 was good value for the taxpayer.
In October 2019 Mr Catherall was appointed Interim Chief Executive of St Helens Council.