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WALTHAM FOREST: Former CEO's firm paid £1m
THE former chief executive of Waltham Forest Council was headhunted by a firm owned by a company he was the director of, it has emerged.
Roger Taylor remained an employee of Pinnacle Public Services Group throughout his time at the council, between February 2007 and September 2008.
Pinnacle owned consultancy firm Rockpools, which was employed by the council in 2006 to find candidates for senior town hall jobs.
However, Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that the contract was neither signed nor dated and contained little detail on costs.
Four appointments were made as a result of this process, which cost the taxpayer £82,168.
One of those was Roger Taylor, who went on to command a salary of up to £1,275 a day until he left the authority in September 2008.
Between 2006 and 2009, Rockpools signed further contracts with the council and was paid £1,036,038, including £882,492 for temporary staff.
Formally declaring his employment status, Mr Taylor said: “All fees paid by Waltham Forest, on receipt of invoices from Rockpools Ltd, will accrue to Pinnacle PSG, and do not constitute any direct payment to myself.”
Under Mr Taylor’s leadership the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending.
The other three senior appointments made by Rockpools as a result of the 2006 contract were assistant director of development Shifa Mustafa, head of 2012 Symon Sentain and head of spatial planning Gordon Glenday.
All three remain with the authority.
Roger Taylor is believed to currently be employed as the head of the ‘Five Borough Unit’, which works to secure local benefits for the five Olympic boroughs.
All five authorities contribute to its running costs, with Waltham Forest paying £180,000 a year until 2013 out of its Olympic budget.
Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive.
“The work involved is specialist and skilled in ensuring that high quality applicants apply for these posts and then subject to effective selection processes.
“I... have no doubt about the quality of those appointments... Rockpools were also appointed following a tendering process and, as with all services, the council tenders these services to ensure that we obtain value for money for taxpayers."
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