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South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue strike payments were 'lawful'

  • 12-21-2015

Overtime payments made to three senior fire officers during the 2013 fire strikes were "lawful", an independent investigation has found.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) paid £42,000 to its chief fire officer, and former deputy chief and assistant chief fire officers.

A review of the payments brought to light by the Yorkshire Post, found they were made legally.

The investigating panel said the method of payment "lacked transparency".

Firefighters across the country staged a series of strikes in 2013 in a dispute over changes to their pensions.

According to the report, during the industrial action chief fire officer Jamie Courtney received £14,390 in overtime payments.

Deputy chief fire officer Mark Shaw, who has since retired, received £14,820 and assistant chief fire officer John Roberts, received £13,425.

'Weakness of governance'

The report said the payments were not disclosed to the full SYFR Authority - as had been similar payments in 2009 - but this was not done with the intention of "deliberately concealing the payments".

It said the process and procedures adopted "lacked the appropriate transparency and consequently demonstrated a failure in the governance arrangements of the authority".

It said the fact payments were not agreed by the full authority was a "further demonstration of the failure in, and weakness of governance arrangements".

But it said: "The payments to the principal officers are lawful."

The report has put forward ten recommendations, including a review of the authority's decision-making process.

Neil Carbutt, from the South Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union, said the report "asks more questions that it answers" and called for a further review.

He said: "We've got real concerns over what actually happened. Principal officers are conditioned to a continuous duty contract - there's no hourly rate for a principal officer - and therefore we're questioning why the payments were made."

SYFR has said it will not comment on the report until after a meeting of the SYFR authority on Monday.

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