Sunday 28 November 2021
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Nottingham

Former councillor hired into officer post despite it being against the rules

Nottinghamshire County Council hired a former councillor into a senior officer role six months after he lost an election – despite a rule saying ex-councillors shouldn’t take paid jobs on authorities until 12 months have passed since they last held an elected role for that council.

The authority filled the post of Executive Officer to the Senior Leadership Team (Ruling Group) last month, hiring former Hucknall Conservative councillor Phil Rostance.

Councillor Rostance represented Hucknall South until May 2021 before losing to Cllr Dave Shaw (Ash Ind) when running for the nearby Hucknall West seat in this year’s council election.

He continues to represent Hucknall West as a Conservative councillor on Ashfield District Council.

His appointment, a secondment into a role worth about £40,000 a year, comes despite authorities not being allowed to hire former members into officer positions until 12 months after they ceased to be a councillor on that authority.

The rule is stated within Section 116 of the Local Government Act 1972, with Cllr Rostance’s appointment made halfway through this 12-month period.

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The section of the law is named ‘Members of local authorities not to be appointed as officers’.

It states: “A person shall, so long as he is, and for twelve months after he ceases to be, a member of a local authority, be disqualified for being appointed or elected by that authority to any paid office, other than to the office of chairman or vice-chairman.”

Anthony May, Nottinghamshire County Council’s chief executive, says he is “taking advice” on what action to take after being made aware of the issue.

He hopes to have the issue sorted “as soon as possible”.

Cllr Rostance previously worked in the Hucknall-based office of Sherwood MP and Government chief whip Mark Spencer (Con), before leaving the post to take on this role.

The post acts as an assistant to the ruling Conservative administration at County Hall.

 

A similar job listing from 2018 states that the role earns an annual salary of between £38,052 and £42,806 for 37.5 hours of work each week.

Anthony May, Nottinghamshire County Council chief executive, said: “I have been made aware of an issue in respect of a recent recruitment process undertaken by officers of the county council.

“I am taking advice about the matter in order to provide the most appropriate course of action.

“My aim is to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

Cllr Rostance has been approached for a comment.

 

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