Controversy as ex-Hucknall councillor given council job despite rule blocking that from happening

A former Hucknall councillor has been hired into a senior officer role at Notts County Council six months after he lost his seat – despite a rule saying ex-councillors shouldn’t take paid jobs on authorities until 12 months have passed since they last held an elected role for that council.

By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 6:01 pm
Coun Phil Rostance
Coun Phil Rostance

The authority filled the post of executive officer to the senior leadership team (ruling group) last month, hiring former Hucknall Conservative councillor Phil Rostance.

Coun Rostance represented Hucknall South on the county council until May 2021 before losing to Coun Dave Shaw (Ash Ind) when running for the nearby Hucknall West seat in this year’s council election.

He continues to represent Hucknall West as a Conservative councillor on Ashfield District Council.

His appointment, a secondment into a role worth about £40,000 a year, comes despite authorities not being allowed to hire former members into officer positions until 12 months after they ceased to be a councillor on that authority.

The rule is stated within Section 116 of the Local Government Act 1972, with Coun Rostance’s appointment made halfway through this 12-month period.

The section of the law is named ‘Members of local authorities not to be appointed as officers’.

It states: “A person shall, so long as he is, and for twelve months after he ceases to be, a member of a local authority, be disqualified for being appointed or elected by that authority to any paid office, other than to the office of chairman or vice-chairman.”

Anthony May, Nottinghamshire County Council’s chief executive, says he is “taking advice” on what action to take after being made aware of the issue.

He hopes to have the issue sorted “as soon as possible”.

Coun Rostance previously worked in the Hucknall-based office of Sherwood MP and Government chief whip Mark Spencer (Con), before leaving the post to take on this role.

The post acts as an assistant to the ruling Conservative administration at County Hall.

A posting from when the job was first created in 2018 describes it as an “exciting role”, with Coun Rostance required to act “as a key link between the council’s political administration and senior officers”.

It adds: “You will be required to deal with politically sensitive and confidential information in an appropriate, secure and legally compliant manner.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service could not find an online job posting for Coun Rostance’s secondment post.

However, the earlier listing from 2018 stated the role earns an annual salary of between £38,052 and £42,806 for 37.5 hours of work each week.

Mr May said: “I have been made aware of an issue in respect of a recent recruitment process undertaken by officers of the county council.

“I am taking advice about the matter in order to provide the most appropriate course of action.

“My aim is to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has approached Coun Rostance for a comment.

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