var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-41362908-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://' : 'http://') + 'stats.g.doubleclick.net/dc.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();
Home / Latest News / Boris Johnson’s former special adviser to take charge at Cardiff council

Boris Johnson’s former special adviser to take charge at Cardiff council

A former special adviser to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is to temporarily take charge at Cardiff council as a highly-paid consultant, it can be revealed.

Sir Peter Rogers will take the helm from July while the council searches for a permanent replacement for outgoing chief executive Jon House, who is joining PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sir Peter, previously chief executive of Westminster City council and the London Development Agency, was Mr Johnson’s adviser on regeneration, growth and enterprise for a year.

His salary will be paid for by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), whose chief executive said it was unlikely Sir Peter would work full-time.

The Labour Cabinet has indicated the WLGA’s “offer” is its preferred option, rather than promoting a member of its existing senior management team, according to a report to be considered on Wednesday.

Opposition party leaders attacked the use of taxpayers’ money on an external appointment when Cardiff council has a previous chief executive within its ranks.

Andrew Kerr is paid £130,000 as Cardiff’s corporate director of operations. Mr Kerr, who is mid-way through a three year contract, was previously chief executive at Wiltshire County council.

WLGA chief executive Steve Thomas said Sir Peter, whose title would be “head of paid service”, had a “huge track record on local government” and would “add to the improvement progress that Cardiff is going to make”.

“I imagine Cardiff would want to use this period as a time of reflection. They will be undertaking a peer review to see where they go next. It’s a totally sensible thing for any local authority to do,” he said.

Peter Rogers
Peter Rogers

Sir Peter, he added, would “hold the fort” and be involved in the recruitment of a permanent replacement for Mr House, who leaves early next month.

Mr Thomas said salary negotiations with Sir Peter will now start, with the WLGA, which represents all 22 councils in Wales, paying him for at least the first three months.

Asked when the WLGA had previously picked up the wage bill of a council chief executive, Mr Thomas pointed to crisis-hit Anglesey council.

The WLGA, he said, contributed towards the £270,000 salary of interim managing director David Bowels when the Welsh Government stepped-in to run the authority.

“I am not comparing Cardiff with Anglesey, far from it. My point is this is something the WLGA does in terms of interim support,” Mr Thomas said.

It comes just weeks after the Labour-run council appointed 11 new top tier directors, including eight external candidates, each on £120,000 to £130,000-a-year.

The restructure adds £1.1m to the wage bill, but Labour insists there will be no extra cost as the £3.6m previously spent each year on management consultants will be reduced.

The recruitment of five assistant directors, each on £80,000, has been put on hold as part of a new review of the councils’ middle management.

Liberal Democrat group leader Judith Woodman said: “If they had of used an internal person it would not have cost much at all – going external will cost close to £1,000 a day. This is taxpayers’ money and I don’t see the rational at all.

“WLGA money is still taxpayers’ money and this is a waste. Where would we be if all the councils in Wales were in the same position?”

Conservative group leader David Walker added: “I thought they would make use of someone who has been a chief executive, knows the council and is working very well now – Andrew Kerr.

“This decision undermines him. He is more than capable of taking on an interim position. This administration has based itself on not using consultants and now they are doing the exact opposite.”

A Labour councillor, who did not want to be named, said backbenchers had not been informed of the interim situation. “This goes against everything the leader and cabinet has said about not using consultants, it’s a shambles,” the councillor said.

The cabinet report also confirms, as revealed on Wednesday, that the permanent post of chief executive is likely to be replaced by a “city director”, with fewer responsibilities and a lower wage.

The position, based on the example of other cities, such as Bristol, would not carry out many of the external responsibilities usually associated with a chief executive.

Council leader Heather Joyce, and her cabinet colleagues, “continuing to play a stronger and more prominent role in the leadership of the council”, according to the cabinet paper.

If approved by the Employment Conditions Committee, the new post would be advertised in late June with a recommendation for appointment going to the full council on September 26.

It’s likely the city director would then be required to work three months’ notice with their current employer, meaning they may not start at County Hall until January 2014.

The final approval for the interim post will have to be made by full council on June 27.

Check Also

UCAS

A level results in Cardiff: How every school performed

Thousands of pupils across Cardiff have celebrated their A level results today. Across the city …