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12th March 2014

Concerns raised over ex-Deputy Older People's Commissioner's £27,000 ex gratia payment

Concerns have been raised over an ex gratia payment to the former Deputy Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Stone, who took voluntary redundancy in 2012.

Sarah Stone was given compensation of £27,000, plus £26,000 extra as a redundancy payout last year following changes made after Sarah Rochira took over from Ruth Marks in 2012. The payments emerged in the Commissioner's 2012-13 audited accounts which are in the public domain on the Older People's Commissioner's website.

Shadow Minister for Older People, Darren Millar, said: "A substantial ex gratia payment like this would be better spent on frontline services and further improving standards of care. This payout will rightly be questioned by taxpayers and I remain unconvinced that it represents value for public money."

A spokesman for the Older People's Commissioner's office said: "The payment was made following independent HR and legal advice that confirmed this was the most appropriate approach to manage any potential risks around the restructuring process.

"The commissioner undertook a restructure to ensure that the most effective internal roles and competencies were in place to deliver her statutory duties as well as to reduce the overall recurrent senior management cost base.

"The process was open and transparent and the payment was fully disclosed in the commissioner's annual accounts, which have been audited and are in the public domain."

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