Further to my article regarding the cost of external investigations being carried into the conduct of suspended officers an Independent councillor has been in touch to state that the financial cost to tax payers is far higher than has been suggested in the Council's response to my Freedom of Information Request.
Councillor Toni Fox, who represents the Dean Row Ward, said "Following a question raised by an Independent councillor at the Full Council meeting held in December Cheshire East Council members have subsequently been advised of the current costs associated with the work of the Investigation and Disciplinary Committee (IDC)."
An email distributed to members by Cllr Paul Bates, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Communications, read "The IDC is being supported by external investigators and temporary staffing arrangements which, up to November 2017, had cost £110,000.
"In addition, as suspensions have occurred, it has been important to minimise the potential for these neutral acts to impact on service delivery and to ensure that the organisation also continues to meet its statutory responsibilities. As we have said before, suspension is a neutral act and we have a legal responsibility to continue to pay officers suspended while investigations are completed. Up to November 2017, the costs of acting up arrangements had therefore cost £346,000.
"The total cost to the end of November is therefore £456,000.
"The estimated costs to the end of 2017/18, which reflect the resignation of the Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer, are anticipated to be in the region of £720,000."