Size of financial settlement for former council chief executive is revealed

Nathan Elvery left West Sussex County Council in November after more than three years as its chief executive
Nathan Elvery left West Sussex County Council in November after more than three years as its chief executive

The departure of a former chief executive officer cost West Sussex County Council more than £300,000 in settlement and legal fees, it has been reported.

Nathan Elvery left County Hall ‘by mutual consent’ as the council put it – finally severing ties in November having been absent on full pay since September.

The council has repeatedly refused to say why he left his £190,000 per year post or how much he was given, citing confidentiality and legal reasons.

It was a situation that did nothing to boost the council’s reputation, which had taken a battering after hugely critical reports into its children’s services and fire & rescue services, followed by the resignation of then leader Louise Goldsmith, who hired Mr Elvery in 2016.

The BBC has now reported that a settlement of £265,000 was reached with Mr Elvery, while the council paid more than £35,000 for legal advice surrounding his departure.

When approached, the council again refused to confirm these figures.

Instead, a spokesman said: “A report into the council’s ability to improve children’s services highlighted a number of recommendations which needed addressing quickly and which we are now tackling.

“We fully accept the report and its recommendations.

“At that time we also made the decision to reach an agreement with the former chief executive as there was a need for a fresh start to address the challenges the council faced.

“We received external advice throughout the process and, specifically, on the terms of an agreed departure and the value to the council of resolving the matter quickly and moving forward.”

In December, it was announced that West Sussex would share a chief executive officer with East Sussex County Council in an attempt to improve the services it provided.

Becky Shaw took the reins of both councils this month, with the east acting as corporate improvement partner for the west.