Council Criticised Over Accrued Holiday

The Town Hall

The Council of the Isles of Scilly has been criticised by the Audit Commission for not adhering to their own policy on carrying forward annual leave.

The Council recently published data showing £225,000 is owed to employees for 790 days of annual leave entitlement that has been carried forward.

Council policy states that no more than 5 days leave can be carried forward each year.

ScillyToday understands that a significant proportion of this time has been accrued by the Chief Executive, Philip Hygate and Chief Technical Officer, Neville Gardner, some dating back to the time of the Cita disaster in 1997.

In his 2010/11 annual report, the auditor states, “The Council’s leave policy is not being adhered to in respect of time taken off in lieu and taken forward into future years.

“Some staff have accrued significant leave which will either need to be taken or paid when leaving the Council.”

Chairman of the Policy and Resources committee, Marian Bennett, told us that the demands of work sometimes mean that annual leave can’t be taken in full and a “degree of flexibility is desirable.”

But she says in the interest of a healthy work-life balance the Council will be encouraging all employees to use their full leave entitlement in the year it’s due, adding they’ll be adhering to the leave policy in future.

Marian says anyone owed leave will have to take that as holiday and will not be offered any financial settlement.


7 Responses to Council Criticised Over Accrued Holiday

  1. Todd Stevens April 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    All I see are huge wages for massive failure to meet our most basic needs ie- proper waste managment; sewage; and the sea link. The Route Partnership was a absolute joke! How many man hours were spent on that failure!! If this were a private business they would be out of a job by now. Get your pens out, write your resignations and stop sadling these tiny islands with huge bills for money that has clearly not been earned!!

  2. Cassandra April 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

    The basic point about the holiday pay issue is making is that more time had to be spent running the Council than was budgeted i.e. certain officers had to give up their holidays in order to carry out their duties and in doing so have landed Council Tax payers with a £225,000 bill. Personally, I find that surprising particularly given the number of people the Council now employs and I would want to look at how Hygate and other senior officers are spending their time at work. For example, is too much time being spent on attractive (to them) activities like the LEP board, visiting Downing Street etc., rather than the basic functions of Local Government?

    • The Daily Sport May 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      This is a very interesting point, Cassandra. Have you seen any of the council officers during your Downing Street trips? What would your advice be for addressing this situation? How would YOU (whoever you are) go about lobbying for change?

  3. George Kershaw April 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Accrued holiday happens for two reasons I can think of.
    1. The amount of work being expected of an employee exceeds their capability to get the work done. Or..
    2. The amount of work expected by an employee is not able to be completed in reasonable tme due to an incapability of the employee to do their job.
    In my experience it is usually option 1 meaning that to avoid these accrued holiday problems more staff need to be employed.
    I think this happens in the Town Hall from time to time but due to the need to get all the work done promptly the correct training isn’t given, meaning employees end up taking much longer than a qualified person would take to do the same job, with on the job training from employees who may not neccessarily have the correct qualifications either.
    Just speculating here to be fair, but seems quite possible to me..
    Catch 22?
    Whatever, any person who has worked through their holiday entitlement should either be given their due time off or be offered a financial settlement.
    If I didn’t get paid for the labour I had done at work I would have no money! Why should it be any different in an employed environment, unless people are suggesting that employees are not working to their expected level of achievement?
    Food for thought…

  4. The Daily Sport April 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Time for some fact checking methinks – will ‘Philip’ and ‘Neville’ be the only ones issued with a cheque?

    And – let’s open this up to the forum – if YOU had had to forego holiday, would YOU be happy to just let it slide by?

    And to what extent can this ruling be applied retrospectively?

  5. Cassandra April 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Average holiday pay of £285 per day – gosh! Probably more than a lot of people on the Islands earn in a week.

  6. The Guardian April 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

    “a degree of flexibility?”
    Is 15 years not flexible enough to redistribute that?

    People will have to take it as holiday? You mean, “once Philip and Neville have been issued with a hefty cheque, everyone else will have to take it as holiday”? Surely that’s what you mean?

    Good to see the Audit Commission bringing down a swift sword of justice on this. By ‘sword of justice’, i mean ‘slap on the wrist’. Useless, toothless organisation that they are.

    The Council does what it wants.