Sport England denies secret payoff

29 Nov 01
Lottery funding body Sport England this week hit back at claims that its former chief executive received a 'secret' payoff of £500,000 when he left his post in June.

30 November 2001

The organisation claimed that Derek Casey's severance package, far from being an undisclosed payment, was brought to the attention of the National Audit Office (NAO) immediately after being agreed by sports minister Richard Caborn.

There has been concern among MPs at the level of payoffs given to senior officials of public bodies perceived to have been less than successful.

Critics claimed that Caborn assented to a lump sum payoff for Casey six times the value of his salary without the knowledge of the Treasury which, it was also claimed, tried to prevent the payment being made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

But a spokeswoman for Sport England said: 'There never was a "secret" deal', and just £157,000 – the equivalent of the remaining period of Casey's six-year contract – was paid as a lump sum.

'In addition, Derek was granted enhanced pension benefits with an actuarial value of £334,000,' she said. 'This figure is based on future life expectancy and is the estimated total sum that will be paid over the next 25 years.'

The NAO, however, said it would publish a review of Sport England's annual accounts in December. Although the auditor scrutinises its accounts annually, this would be the first public report of this kind on the sports body.

Sport England also denied that its chairman, Trevor Brooking, and newly appointed chief executive, David Moffatt, had been summoned to appear before the Commons Public Accounts Committee next month. Indeed, Moffatt does not take up his post until January.

Confusion remained, however, over the nature of consultation between Caborn and the Treasury, which must ultimately sanction severance packages.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said: 'It is clear that while the process of looking at the [severance] package was in place, the Treasury was kept informed at all times.'

The Treasury was unable to confirm this claim, leaving Caborn potentially exposed to further criticism when the accounts are published next month.


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