A report compiled for the Executive team at West Oxfordshire District Council, ahead of their meeting on Wednesday 8th March, has revealed costs of the top team have spiralled.
The Executive, which was formally named the cabinet, is made up of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green councillors forming the most senior team at the council.
In a update on the quarter 3 financial performance report of the district council staff have highlighted a significant overspend on the senior team due to the coalition increasing the number of members on the Executive. Under the previous Conservative administration there were just 7 members but when the coalition took control of West Oxfordshire District Council in May 2022 the new Leader, Liberal Democrat Cllr Andy Graham, decided to increase the size of the team pushing it up to 9 members.
The additional cost to taxpayers' is reported to be £41,000 so far this year and it's not clear if this could impact other service areas in order to meet the overspend demand. The council report states, "The additional spend this year is predominantly due to an increase in allowances and the additional number of members in the executive."
Cllr Michele Mead who is the opposition Conservative Group Leader and was the previous leader of the council, said, "The current Executive has caused a £41,000 overspend which is definitely not good value for money with the residents of West Oxfordshire picking up the tab. We managed for decades with a smaller team but the new Leader's first act was to increase the size of the team presumably to keep his coalition colleagues happy. If we took back control of the council I would look to immediately reduce the size of this team and put that money saved towards the services that residents pay for."
The councils Executive is currently made up of 5 Liberal Democrats, 3 Labour and 1 Green councillor. Local elections will take place in West Oxfordshire on Thursday 4th May where 16 wards on the council are up for election.