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Controversial council boss could receive a £320,000 pay-off

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Back to work: Bryn Parry Jones

Back to work: Bryn Parry Jones

ON THURSDAY afternoon (Oct 16), Pembrokeshire’s County Councillors will meet in what is likely to be a private session to discuss the terms of a settlement between the Council and its most senior employee, Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones.

The Pembrokeshire Herald understands that the sum likely to be on the table is in excess of £320,000.

While all councillors spoken to by this newspaper are staying tight-lipped about the potential terms of any settlement, a County Hall insider has told us the key components of any settlement.

After speaking with a public sector employment specialist, The Herald has established that in most Welsh local government contracts for senior staff, guidance  for calculating settlements indicates a gross payment of between three months’ to two years’ salary, based on seniority and overall length of service.

Bryn Parry-Jones would be at the upper end of the settlement framework.

Starting from that point (and stripping away other payments) Bryn Parry-Jones’ base salary is around £173,000.

In a settlement agreement it would also be usual to incorporate a provision for payment in lieu of notice. While this might vary depending on circumstances, the amount in lieu of notice would usually be around three months’ pay.

In local government contracts there is a provision for a payment in respect of other guaranteed payments additional to the base salary and these are often incorporated into the settlement agreement sum.

The Council would be obliged to deduct tax from the any part of the payment exceeding £30,000.

One potential sticking point is how the Council deals with Mr Parry-Jones’ pension. As things stand he would need the Council’s permission to draw any benefit from the scheme, as he opted out of it two years’ ago when the Council approved the unlawful payments scheme which has ultimately led to the current fracture between the parties. Mr Parry-Jones has previously told Councillors that he regards that issue to be far from closed. The Council ceased paying Mr Parry-Jones’ pension contributions (the unlawful pay supplement) around the time of the Extraordinary Meeting which discussed it on February 14, this year.

The overall position turns on how both sides view their risk exposure. An employer, particularly a County Council, will always need to bear in mind political as well as litigation pressure.

The prospect of a significant monetary settlement will weigh heavily upon councillors, who will bear in mind the likely outraged reaction of their constituents if Mr Parry-Jones walks away with what potentially equates to a 1% increase in Council Tax for every household in Pembrokeshire.

The prospect of further protests tomorrow about the settlement, as the Council tries to push through £50m in cuts, cannot be discounted.

The pay-off is due to be debated after 2pm.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Flashbang

    October 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    The damage that BPJ has done to the county over the years far outweighs any payment he gets. Let’s not forget his mismanagement of pretty much everything he’s had a hand in, his abuse of position and the personal slander on Councillor Mike Stoddart. He should have been sacked long ago were it not for the cosy arrangement he has with Jamie Adams which should be put under the microscope. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and beyond.

  2. Bob

    October 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Someone please tell me this is a joke? I pray that councillors will see sense and NOT agree to any pay off, let the investigation take its’ course and then dismiss BJP for misconduct without compensation.

  3. Tomos

    October 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Were all those “leaks” about 1.8 mill or 2 million even just spin to soften the blow so we think £300k is cheap?

    If I’d known it was this cheap I’d have sacked the ****** years ago

    PS Why pay him off honestly? Anyone who had done ONE of the many actions/decisions he’s made over the years would have resulted in any other employee of the council being sacked – not him, WHY?

  4. Andrew Lye

    October 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I understand why the photo always used shows him grinning.He will be the only person smiling in the County, having won the Pembrokeshire Lottery whatever agreement is reached.

  5. mark woodward

    October 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Since he has bought the council into disrepute, he should be sacked. No pay off, let him fight for it. End off matter. Thats how any other employee would be treated. Additionally his little buddy Jamie Adams needs to be suspended and fully investigated for his part in all of these shananigans.

  6. Paul Rutherford

    October 16, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I agree with Tomos, why should he get a payoff at all? Does he have some sort of ‘anti-sacking’ clause in his contract?

    The same sort of thing is happening at other councils, where it seems CE’s manage to get themselves fired with huge payoffs and then just move on to a recently vacated post.

    I believe this is happening at Wirral council, where their CE is going in a month or so. He’d better not come down here.

    Like most I know, I’m furious.

  7. Paul Cardin

    October 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Presumably, he won’t just be paid off; he’ll be gagged and given a clean bill of health to take with him – inside a compromise / settlement agreement.

    Here’s a survey of 345 English councils (which includes a link to £32 million worth of pay offs in Wales).

    Within, there’s approx. £226 million worth of compromise agreements with gagging clauses, over a six year period. It makes up one helluva big lump under the grubby “public sector carpet:

    http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/2519/

  8. CJ

    October 19, 2014 at 9:12 am

    One word to describe this “disgraceful”.

  9. Ieuan Williams

    October 19, 2014 at 11:45 am

    All who voted for this pay off should consider themselves traitors to the People of Pembrokeshire.
    Bryn is laughing all the way to the bank! an dour services must suffer for his pay off.
    Jamie and co hang your heads in shame!

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News

Rosslare ready to go it alone

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THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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Mums in Wales face shortfall in mental health services

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THOUSANDS of women in Wales who need specialist support for mental health problems during pregnancy or following birth are unable to access the care they need because of where they live. And others needing specialist inpatient care must receive it in England because Wales does not have a mother and baby inpatient unit for women suffering the most severe mental health conditions.

Perinatal mental health problems are one of the most common complications experienced during pregnancy and after birth with up to one in five women – and up to one in 10 dads affected. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders and postpartum psychosis.

It means that in Wales more than 6,000 new mothers every year will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the 12 months following the birth of their child. If left untreated, these conditions can have a devastating impact on women and their families, making it harder for parents to provide the care babies need for healthy social, intellectual and emotional development.

As the NSPCC launches its new campaign, Fight for a Fair Start, which calls for improved perinatal mental health provision, the charity has highlighted that Wales’s seven health boards have just one specialist health visitor and four specialist perinatal mental health midwives between them.

These roles can offer vital early help and continuity of care to mums and their families affected by perinatal mental health problems and help reduce demands on other services which have to support parents suffering problems.

The charity has also highlighted that new mothers experiencing the most severe perinatal mental health conditions are not able to access appropriate inpatient care in Wales because there is no mother and baby unit. Instead, women who need specialist inpatient care are either admitted for treatment in adult psychiatric wards – where they may be separated from their child – or in mother and baby units in England.

Launching Fight for a Fair Start today (19 July) NSPCC Cymru has called for:

  • Dedicated specialist perinatal mental health midwives and health visitors in each health board area, to help identify and support women and their families affected by perinatal mental health problems.
  • All women and their families to be able to access a mother and baby unit in Wales.
  • Greater investment in specialist services to ensure that all women and their families can access high quality specialist perinatal mental health services, wherever they live in Wales

Dr Sarah Witcombe-Hayes, Senior Policy Researcher at NSPCC Wales, said: “New mums and dads in Wales are still not receiving the mental health support that they need to give their babies the best start in life. Experiencing perinatal mental health problems can make it harder for parents to provide the sensitive and responsive care that babies need at such an important time, and that is why it is so crucial to have the right support in place for families.

“Access to this vital support should not be dependent upon where you live. Having at least one specialist mental health midwife and specialist perinatal mental health visitor in each health board in Wales would be a significant step towards ensuring that these problems are identified early and mums and their families receive the best care.

“Greater investment is also needed. The Welsh Government must make sure that all women and their families affected by the most serious problems can access potentially lifesaving treatment and support from a mother and baby unit in Wales when they need it.”

North Wales mum Sally Wilson developed postpartum psychosis in 2015 just days after the birth of her daughter Ella but was unable to access the locally-based help she needed such as a mother and baby unit. She said: “I experienced delusions, hallucinations and I was terrified I had harmed Ella but I was admitted to a general adult psychiatric unit, which was scary and traumatic, while Ella went home with my partner.

“In North Wales there weren’t any specialist perinatal mental health teams and no specialist mother and baby unit with the nearest two hours away in England. It took me a long time to access the correct treatment and not only did this have an impact on my recovery but it also affected early bonding with Ella.

“In the absence of specialist help, I was fortunate that my partner’s research background meant he was able to investigate evidence-based treatment options, I appreciate that is not the case for everyone. I also relied heavily on the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis to help me recover. Ultimately, this saved my life.”

Dr Jess Heron, CEO of Action on Postpartum Psychosis added that they supported the NSPCC Campaign. She said: “Most women who develop Postpartum Psychosis will need admission to a specialist Mother and Baby Unit. It is not right that women who become ill in Wales have to be admitted far away from their families in England, or risk being separated from their infant.

“Psychiatric illness is the leading cause of maternal death in the postpartum year in the UK. We fully endorse the call made by NSPCC for women to have immediate access to a mother and baby unit within a reasonable distance of their home if they need it, and to have access to specialist care within perinatal mental health teams wherever they live.”

The NSPCC campaign has been supported by Jo Malone London who also fund direct services to new and prospective parents, focussing on supporting parents with their mental health problems to help them develop secure and healthy relationships with their children.

The NSPCC is inviting people to join the campaign by raising their voice and signing the Fight for a Fair Start petition.

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RNLI crew offer assistance to casualties on board yacht

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ST DAVIDS’ Tamar class lifeboat launched at 7.42am on July 17 to a 11m yacht approximately nine miles west of St Davids Head.

There were four people on board, three of which were suffering from severe sea sickness. The skipper of the vessel was unfamiliar with the area.
The RNLI lifeboat escorted the casualty to the calmer water of Ramsey Sound and put two volunteer crew members on board to check the condition of the crew and assist with mooring the vessel.

The all-weather lifeboat was re-housed by 10.30am

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