LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom’s (non-) attendance at Cabinet

Back in September 2014, Waltham Forest’s Chief Executive, Martin Esom, was awarded a very large pay increase, amounting to £15,000 or 8.7 per cent, and this took his salary to £195,000 p.a.. With some justification, the Waltham Forest Guardian reported the story under the headline ‘Inflation busting pay rise for town hall boss’.

Given his level of remuneration, one might expect that Mr. Esom would be a fixture at Cabinet, as this is, of course, supposedly the Council’s highest decision-making body.

 But looking at the Council’s website, I find that Mr. Esom last attended Cabinet on 15 July 2014, has missed all the six following meetings, and on five of the six occasions has not even given his apologies.

It is possible that Mr. Esom is ill, in which case I wish him well.

But if he is not ill, what is going on? Surely, if you are a chief executive of a council on a salary of £195,000, your attendance at Cabinet should be a given?

Or is Mr. Esom just confirming the new realities – that Cabinet is now a formality, with the real decisions being made elsewhere, and of course not committed to paper.