Nick Hodgson payout: Derbyshire County Council defends secrecy

Nick Hodgson
Image caption Nick Hodgson spent 38 years at the council

Derbyshire County Council has defended its decision not to reveal how much it paid chief executive Nick Hodgson when he left the council.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said councils needed to be more transparent over such payments.

But council leader Anne Western criticised Mr Lewis for "throwing bricks at councils".

Mr Hodgson, who spent 38 years at the council - 16 of them as chief executive - left the authority at the end of May.

'A lot of money'

His departure was announced two weeks after Labour regained control of the council.

Mr Hodgson's salary at the time of his departure is known to have been £152,000, but the council has refused to reveal how much it paid Mr Hodgson when he left.

Opposition leader Andrew Lewer said: "We know it's a lot of money but we don't know how much.

"We keep asking but we're still not getting the answers people deserve."

'Guidance, not law'

On Tuesday, Mr Lewis told the BBC: "There needs to be greater transparency on senior pay deals in local government.

"This includes the publication of senior pay, and council approval for any six-figure salaries, as well as severance packages, in an open meeting of full council."

However, Ms Western rejected the minister's advice.

"It's guidance, it's not the law," she said. "I would say to the minister concerned, local authorities are independent bodies and they run themselves.

"Really, he needs to look at his own government department before he starts throwing bricks at local councils."

Details of the payment are expected to be revealed in the council's accounts at the end of the financial year.

The council is now advertising for a replacement chief executive, with adverts suggesting the post will attract a salary of between £138,000 and £151,000.

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