Significant rise in 'honorariums' paid to Lancaster City Council staff over last five years

The council has paid out a total of £274,835 in staff honorariums since 2015, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 9:46 am

The annual cost of honorariums has increased year on year since 2015, with a sharp rise in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.The total paid out in honorariums in the tax year 2015/16, was £9,675, with one employee receiving £2,435 of this.

From April to July 2020, the council has paid out £116,843 in honorariums, more than 10 times the amount paid out in 2015.

The figures also reveal which individual council department received the lion's share of the cash each year.

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Lancaster City Council has paid out a total of £274,835 in staff honorariums since 2015, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Lancaster City Council leader Dr Erica Lewis, who also has responsibility for human resources, has stressed that honorariums are not bonuses, but payments made to employees doing work outside the scope of their usual responsibilities.

She said they are often more cost-effective than employing additional agency staff, and provide opportunities to develop skills in preparation for a possible future promotion.

The figures revealed that in the tax year 2016/17, £21,886.31 was paid out in honorariums for the whole year - £3,600 was the highest employee amount.

In 2017/18 the figure was £29,758.29 for the whole year, with £3,685.16 being the highest employee amount.

Coun Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council.

In 2018/19 the figure rose to £44,679.26 (£4,733.33 highest employee amount), and in 2019/20 it was £51,992.45 (£4,847.03 highest employee amount).

Coun Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council said: "It is important to note that these are not bonuses paid to staff for just doing their jobs.

"These are payments made to employees doing work outside the scope of their usual responsibilities.

“This may be, for example, when they are required to perform duties of a more senior member of staff as a result of a vacancy, special project or when another post-holder is on long term sick or maternity leave.

“There may also be, as was the case during the recent coronavirus pandemic when staff on the frontline put themselves in a greater risk to continue the provision of services, or undertook duties that were outside of their usual job roles.

“The payment of honorariums is often more cost-effective than employing additional agency staff to take on the additional duties and also provides valuable opportunities for employees to develop skills and gain experience in preparation for a possible future promotion.”

Here are all the figures, including amounts paid to each individual departments within the council.

The highest amounts are shown in italics.

2015/16

£9675.63 for the whole year

£2435.04 highest employee amount, per annum

Marketing & Communications - £1623

Parks and Open Spaces - £432.08

Administration - £1225

Repairs and Maintenance -£3842.04

Democratic Services - £1129.98

Council Housing - £13.45

Property Group - £1450.08

2016/17

£21,886.31 for the whole year

£3600 highest employee amount, per annum

Parks & Open Spaces - £1506.00

Administration - £1722.51

Democratic Services - £5918

HR - £5408.71

Council Housing -£821.86

Private Housing - £1592.23

Property Group - £4897.00

2017/18

£29,758.29 for the whole year

£3685.16 highest employee amount, per annum

Customer Services - £3685.16

Economic Development - £803.57

Sports and Leisure - £1969.33

Parks and Open Spaces - £648.69

Administration - £78.70

Cleansing - £1826.13

Democratic Services - £290.79

HR - £7615.00

Private Housing - £5596.08

Planning - £1607.14

Finance - £3347.01

Property Group - £2290.69

2018/19

£44,679.26 for the whole year

£4733.33 highest employee amount, per annum

Customer Services - £445.60

Economic Development - £5000.00

Sports and Leisure - £4690.56

Administration - £2950.80

HR - £4733.33

Council Housing - £5395.11

Private Housing - £5707.92

Planning - £7470.96

Finance - £2736.60

ICT - £5548.38

2019/20

£51,992.45 for the whole year

£4847.03 highest employee amount, per annum

Environmental Services - £800

Sports & Leisure - £266.95

Parks and Open Spaces - £252.16

Administration - £5454.70

Repairs & Maintenance £1424.60

Democratic Services - £1500

HR - £8697.03

Legal - £5150

Council Housing - £6932.78

Environmental Health - £1996.25

Private Housing - £4851.8

Finance - £6246.84

ICT - £4000

Property Group - £1870.56

Regeneration/Planning - £6595.98

2020/present

£116,843.62 for the whole year (to present date)

£1073.90 highest employee amount, per annum

Marketing & Communications - £240.00

Customer Services - £3500

Public Protection - £536.67

Sports and Leisure - £13971.90

Parks & Open Spaces -£4664.87

Administration - £2917.83

Building Cleaning - £6251.38

Cleansing - £7727.03

Grounds Maintenance - £8560.81

Repairs & Maintenance - £12283.24

Vehicle Maintenance Unit - £1460.81

Waste - £24204.96

HR - £3692.94

Council Housing - £6429.99

Environmental Health - £5648.65

Private Housing - £3577.23

Parking - £500

Finance - £1800

ICT - £800.00

Property Group - £5397.97

Revenues - £1130.27

Regeneration/Planning - £947.07