Published: 11:00, 21 July 2014
| Updated: 11:11, 21 July 2014
Redundancy payouts and exit packages for Kent County Council staff have cost the taxpayer £6.7million in two years, according to the authority's annual accounts.
The scale of the payouts is largely due to cuts in the workforce under a major reorganisation of the way the council is run, coupled with the continuing impact of a public sector spending squeeze.
In 2012-13, redundancy and exit packages cost KCC £3.9m and in 2013-14, £2.8m.
Exit packages are usually agreed settlements between employees and their employer and can incorporate additional payments based on months of service, unused holiday and payment in lieu of a required notice period.
According to KCC, there were 689 redundancies over the two years.
In 2012-13, there were 238 compulsory redundancies and 203 "other departures" while in 2013-14, there were 144 redundancies and 104 other departures.
The council says it needs to make savings totalling £80m this year and has embarked on a major outsourcing programme, in which private companies and other organisations are likely to take over the running of key services.
Cllr Gary Cooke (Con), cabinet member for corporate and democratic services said in a statement the average payout was about £10,000.
He added: "Kent County Council has responded positively to budgetary pressures that have been placed on all local councils by central government. To achieve the necessary savings Kent County Council has undertaken some significant service redesign which has helped to facilitate an unprecedented 20% reduction in staff numbers since 2011.
"We always try to achieve reductions in staffing numbers through natural wastage, but where it has been necessary to make staff redundant, this will primarily be on a voluntary basis with redundancy calculations based on the applicable statutory minimums without enhancements.
"There are a small number of exit packages negotiated which provide for some level of enhancement. However, these are negotiated after careful consideration and with a view to limiting or minimising any further financial risk to the council."