Lib Dem comment on Sunderland Council’s £35million spend gagging former employees
Wearside’s Liberal Democrats have slammed Sunderland City Council for spending over £35 million on gagging orders for former Council staff over the past 5 years.
Figures released by Heather Fagan of the North East Party, and made public on the whatdotheyknow.com website, reveal that Sunderland Council has spent £35,378,489 on payoffs and gagging clauses for 1673 former members of staff since 2011.
Northumberland Council spent £7.4 million on gagging orders for 443 staff in the same period; Durham £2.2million on 173 staff; with Newcastle spending £1.6m on confidentiality agreements for 60 former employees.
Gateshead Council agreed compromise deals with 9 former employees, with Redcar and Cleveland Council spending £443,000 on gagging clauses for 31 members of staff.
Commenting, Sunderland Lib Dem Councillor Niall Hodson said:.
“It is truly shocking that over £35 million has been spent on gagging former employees so that they cannot criticise the council.
“People have a right to know what goes on at our Council and how our money is spent. It would appear that this over-zealous use of confidentiality agreements in Sunderland is being used to silence former staff members who may have legitimate concerns about how the City Council is delivering local services.
“This figure of 1673 gagging orders is far higher than any other local authority in the north east – it really does make you wonder what Sunderland Council has to hide.”