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Caerphilly Council tax to rise by 3.9 per cent

Councillors at Caerphilly Council have approved budget proposals Credit: ITV News

Caerphilly County Councillors have approved a series of budget proposals for the forthcoming year at a council meeting this evening, which will see savings across the council for 2014/15 in excess of £14.2 million pounds.

Councillors also approved plans for a 3.9% increase in Council Tax, which in monetary terms equates to a 69 pence per week increase for a Band D property in Caerphilly county borough.

Members also supported plans to further increase the Living Wage by an additional 20 pence per hour, which will ensure that thousands of the council?s lowest paid staff earn at least £7.65 an hour, an increase of 20 pence from £7.45 as currently.

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Caerphilly council 'must do better' says auditor

Caerphilly Council workers demonstrating last July when the chief executive was awarded a pay rise. Credit: ITV News

A report into governance failings at Caerphilly County Borough Council says things have improved but more work needs to be done.

The council says it welcomes the findings by the Auditor General for Wales and will act on its recommendations.

The report points to a number of factors that led to failings claiming the appointment of a new chief executive in 2010 led to "a greater appetite for risk and pressure". There were also weaknesses in the way business cases were prepared and in the transparency of reports.

Governance failings at the council were caused by a combination of weaknesses and, while the authority is improving now, it is too early to tell if this progress can be sustained is the conclusion of the special inspection report published today.

The report makes 8 recommendations for improvement, including calls for the council to:

Clarify in an understandable way, the governance and decision-making roles of - the Cabinet; Chief Executive; Corporate Management team; Corporate Directors; scrutiny committees and Audit Committee.

Ensure that it maintains appropriate documents of all decisions made and by whom, to provide assurance that decisions made are appropriate and transparent and strengthen risk management processes.

Operation Santa to bring christmas cheer to Caerphilly

Caerphilly County Borough Council is hoping to bring the christmas cheer to around 800 children across the county. Volunteers are helping to sort, wrap and distribute over 2,500 parents today and tomorrow.

Operation Santa is being supported by homelessness charities Llamau, Action for Children, Home-Start and Gofal Cymru, who have nominated children to receive gifts.

Caerphilly council arrests: two men bailed

Two men arrested yesterday as part of a probe into wage rises at Caerphilly Council have been released on police bail.

The chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan and another local authority employee were arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office.

They were questioned by Avon and Somerset police following allegations that "secret" pay rises were awarded to 21 council bosses.

Sandra Aspinall, Acting Deputy Chief Executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council says she will now take responsibility for the authority.

We have been informed by Avon and Somerset Police that two members of staff have been released on police bail.

As Acting Deputy Chief Executive I will assume responsibility for leading the organisation until further discussions take place.

I want to send a clear message to the community that it is very much ‘business as usual’ at Caerphilly County Borough Council.

We will continue to concentrate our efforts on delivering quality services to residents and these recent events will not affect our commitment to this goal.

– Sandra Aspinall, Acting Deputy Chief Executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council

Caerphilly council chief arrested in wages probe

Anthony O'Sullivan has been suspended as chief executive. Credit: ITV

The chief executive of Caerphilly County Council has been arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office.

Anthony O'Sullivan and another local authority employee are being questioned by Avon and Somerset police.

The arrests come amid allegations that "secret" pay rises were awarded to 21 council bosses.

An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said: "Following a request to carry out a review by the Wales Audit Office two people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office.

"They currently remain in police custody where they are being questioned. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

Sources close to the probe have confirmed that O'Sullivan is one of the pair being quizzed.

He hit the headlines late last year when his salary rose from £132,000 to £158,000, at a time when the bulk of the council's staff were on the third year of a pay freeze.

Following a public outcry, the rises were shelved in January and O'Sullivan's increase fell from from £26,000 to £5,000.

In a statement Caerphilly council confirmed it was aware of the latest development, "We have been advised by the police it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage, but we will continue to co-operate fully with the ongoing investigation".

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Two arrests in Caerphilly Council wages investigation

Caerphilly Council workers demonstrated when the chief executive was awarded a hefty pay rise. Credit: ITV

Two men have been arrested as part of an investigation into wage rises at Caerphilly Borough Council.

A police investigation was launched after it was revealed that pay rises for 21 top officers would cost council taxpayers £1.5m over the next four years.

Avon and Somerset Police were called in by the Wales Audit Office to carry out an investigation.

"Following a request to carry out a review two people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office. They currently remain in police custody where they are being questioned. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage," a spokesman said.

Caerphilly Council would not name the individuals arrested but say they are aware of the situation:

“We were informed this morning that two senior council employees have been arrested and are being interviewed.

"We have been advised by the police it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage, but we will continue to co-operate fully with the ongoing investigation”

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