Ex-KCC boss Katherine Kerswell sparks outrage over public bodies
The former managing director of Kent County Council who
received a £420,000 pay-off has sparked outrage after saying the
public sector must do more to be cost-effective.
Katherine Kerswell left her role as managing director of KCC in
controversial circumstances after less than two years in the job
and did so with a £420,000 payout.
She has since taken on a new job as the director general for
civil service reform at the Cabinet Office on a six-figure
Writing in The Guardian, Mrs Kerswell said one of the key
challenges facing leaders in the public sector was how best to be
"The drive to reduce costs, improve productivity and heighten
overall efficiency is the key to public management for the
foreseeable future, and it cannot be avoided.
"Cost-effectiveness is the hallmark concept for public leaders
in these austere times," she writes.
Public sector leaders needed to find an answer to the question,
she adds: "What is the cheapest and most effective way of solving
this problem? This begins with planning effective outcomes for
citizens, before addressing the cost to the taxpayer of designing
solutions to these outcomes."
Her comments were described as breath-taking by the Taxpayers'
Matthew Sinclair said:
"The irony of Katherine Kerswell lecturing us on efficiency and
good use of taxpayers' money is breath-taking.
"Her pay-off at Kent County Council remains one of most
prominent examples of an overly generous and unjustified golden
goodbye for a local authority boss.
"Now that she's in charge of civil service reform her priority
should be to end the culture of excess in the civil service, rather
than writing vacuous Guardian articles."
In the article, Mrs Kerswell also contends that "decision-making
that is obscure, unseen or hidden fails the test of a modern
"As citizens, we now want 24/7 accountability, and we expect the
full disclosure and transparency of those public decisions taken in
KCC has never fully explained the full background to Mrs
Kerswell's departure or accounted for why she was given a £420,000
payout when she left the authority last December.
There were rumours that she had fallen out with the Conservative
administration but the council said doing away with the managing
director was a way of saving money.
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