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How much for policy?

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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I read with disgusted astonishment the article by Philippa Jenkins in last week's Journal, reporting on the staggering cost to us, the taxpayers, of the amount of sick days among council staff at North Devon Council ('Sick days among council staff cost public £1 million', Journal, November 1).

As if that was not bad enough we then had our £95k per year council chief executive giving pathetic excuses.

A sick day is a sick day, whether long term or not. Please, Mr Mansell, don't try to hide behind distorted excuses.

Instead, can you tell us the additional costs involved in administering your "robust Sickness Absence Management Policy," which, beggaring belief, includes "monitoring and reviewing sickness absence, use of the Bradford Factor to identify specific trigger points, return to work interviews, absence review meetings, referrals to our occupational health service, when necessary, and use of the council's capability policy, and procedure, when appropriate"? Amazing. Unbelievable. Is this what we pay you £95,000 for?

Could you make it public knowledge, without the need for us to resort to the Freedom Of Information Act, exactly how much this policy costs us (on top of the lost work days), and how many staff are employed in dealing with these policies instead of doing their regular jobs?

Never mind the taxpayer paying twice for diminishing services. More like three or four times I suspect.

It seems the only thing you have perfected, Mr Mansell, is your council's ability to waste money.

An honest, factual answer please, not distorted, confusing, rhetoric.

R Richards,


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