REDUNDANCY and ‘golden handshake’ agreement costs at a borough council rose by more than 26 per cent last year.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) forked out £172,783 on employment termination costs in the 2016/17 financial year, up from £126,282 in 2015/16.

The 2016/17 figure includes £66,560 on settlement agreements, also known as ‘golden handshakes’ and previously known as compromise agreements, which BDBC has confirmed related to just one staff member.

A settlement agreement usually involves an employer providing a severance payment and in return, the individual agrees not to pursue any claim or grievance they may have in an employment tribunal.

The remainder of the £172,783 figure, which includes pension costs, related to three redundancies made by the authority.

BDBC’s head of financial services Philip Hood said: “We are continuously looking for ways to improve our services and make savings without negatively impacting on the residents and redundancies are part of this.

When a new position becomes available at the council we always seek to place those at risk of redundancy into new positions where possible.

“Redundancy figures can differ as they are entirely dependent on the employee’s length of service and age at the time of leaving the council.

“Every payment for settlement or redundancy is made in accordance with the council’s agreed pay policy statement.”

The figures were published in a BDBC Human Resources Committee report, discussed at a meeting on Monday, 4 September.

BDBC has also confirmed the 2015/16 termination costs related to four employees and included two redundancies and two settlements.

This broke down into £89,652 being paid for redundancies and £36,630 in settlement agreements.