Exit of Thanet council chief executive Madeline Homer confirmed

Exit of chief executive Madeline Homer

Chief executive Madeline Homer’s exit from Thanet council has been confirmed and it is understood she will receive around £327,000 severance pay.

A statement issued by the authority following a meeting last night (June 8) says her exit is a ‘joint’ decision made by TDC and Ms Homer.

The council’s Section 151 Officer and Director of Finance Chris Blundell has been appointed as Acting Deputy Chief Executive and will cover her duties as Head of Paid Service with immediate effect.

His appointment is a short term arrangement to ensure the council meets its obligations to provide the statutory role of Head of Paid Service until an interim Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service is identified. An appointment is expected to be made at the next Full Council meeting on Thursday 14 July.

Thanet council has not confirmed the details of the severance payment although the amount will need to be recorded in the annual statement of accounts.

‘Serious breakdown’ in top management relationships

Her exit follows an independent report into failings at the authority, which included ‘serious breakdown’ in relationships of the top management team and the use of disciplinary action against staff trying to raise complaints.

Eight recommendations were agreed at a meeting of the council on May 19 including a restructure of the corporate management team to create a role responsible for HR (human resources) and the requirement for Madeline Homer to enter into a formal coaching/mentoring arrangement.

However, it is understood that severance arrangements in regards to the CEO post were raised and discussed at a General Purposes meeting on June 1 into ‘staffing matters’. The meeting last night addressed two ‘staffing matters.’

Last year external auditors Grant Thornton issued a report branding relationships between the authority’s top officers as in “serious breakdown” and listing a catalogue of failures within the council, including attempting to discredit criticism in independent reports; draining finances due to disciplinary and tribunal actions and causing significant reputational harm to those involved in prolonged grievance processes.

Thanet District Council unanimously agreed to Grant Thornton’s four statutory recommendations – including bringing in an independent Monitoring Officer.

Prior to the auditors’ report the situation prompted Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee to appeal to central government to step in to deal with the culture at the council by “request(ing) the assistance of DHCLG to, in the public interest, regularise the governance of TDC”.

The letter, sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (DHCLG) came amid on-going disciplinary and grievance proceedings. Although central government declined to step in it is understood Thanet council could still be at risk of entering ‘special measures.’

Top officers exit the authority

A summary version of the report by Independent Monitoring Officer, Quentin Baker, was published last month and highlighted concerns such as the personal relationship between chief exec Madeline Homer and Director of Communities Gavin Waite; the hostile relationship between the top four senior officers and the pay out of more than £1.5m for redundancy or employment tribunal deals between 2015-2021..

On two occasions disciplinary proceedings were launched against members of the top management team -one of which resulted in a serious disciplinary sanction against Monitoring Officer Tim Howes, leading to his dismissal in April of this year and the other ending with a public apology and £280k severance deal for deputy chief Tim Willis who left the council last October. A leaked document showed Mr Willis had lodged a grievance against Madeline Homer with accusations of systematic bullying, intimidation and victimisation..

With the exit of Madeline Homer, Gavin Waite is the only member of the top team currently remaining.


Two grievance complaints were also filed by TDC staff against top officers during 2019.

One of those complainants named both chief executive Madeline Homer and Director of Operational Services Gavin Waite in a list of 10 grievances.

In 2020 the process of dealing with employment grievances prompted the GMB union to call on Thanet council to implement a new, independent system for dealing with bullying and harassment complaints against senior officers, saying the current methods are ‘compromised beyond further use.’

Last year, the prolonged grievance procedures were blamed for holding up an “urgent”  review of the culture at the authority.

Governance and Audit Committee chairman at the time, Mike Garner, said the review,needed to be “prioritised.”

Personal relationship

Mr Baker’s report said among the aggravating causes of the failings was “the emergence of the close personal relationship between Madeline Homer and Gavin Waite which was for some time during 2018-19 the source of much gossip and speculation both amongst staff within the authority and more widely on the internet, which is likely to have impacted upon the dynamic of the small CMT.

Previous pay-outs

Madeline Homer has been in the chief exec post for seven years following the exit of Sue McGonigal and has been on the staff at Thanet council for 15 years.

Dr McGonigal was absent from her post for six months while an investigation related to a planning application was carried out., She was cleared of any wrongdoing but resigned in 2015. She received an £82,500 “loss of office” pay off. The compensation was not agreed and paid until the 2016 financial year.

Prior to Dr McGonigal, former chief exec Richard Samuels received a ‘golden handshake’ payment of £92,000 and £81,000 into his pensions pot.

In 2017 the director of communities, Rob Kenyon, was made redundant and received a loss of office payment of £39,533

Most recently former deputy chief exec Tim Willis was paid £280k after the wrongful suspension and the submission of his grievance.

A significant sum of £1,590,151 has been spent on settlements due to redundancy or employment tribunals between the financial years 2015/16 to 2020/21 and costs are expected to rise further as a number of matters remain extant and unresolved.

The severance agreement amount for Madeline Homer will have been compared to the possible costs of prolonged sick pay or disciplinary or tribunal costs.

Madeline Homer said: “After nearly 15 years at Thanet District Council, and 7 years as its Chief Executive, it is time to embrace the natural cycle of change both for the organisation and also importantly for me. I want to pursue new challenges, which is something I am excited about.

“I have enjoyed being Chief Executive and have worked collaboratively and positively with elected Leaders over those 7 years, together achieving positive change in the district. I am particularly proud of Dreamland; the Multi Agency Task Force and Housing Intervention programmes in Margate; Thanet Parkway; and of course more recently the Margate Town Deal and Levelling Up funds for both Ramsgate and Margate.

“I have proactively encouraged and supported Thanet’s excellent reputation for partnership working, including establishing the Thanet Leadership Group and East Kent Wellbeing & Health Partnership, which is now being incorporated into the East Kent Health & Care Partnership. More importantly, I have overseen the delivery of vital public services to our communities, including during the challenges presented to us all during the pandemic.

“I could not have done that without the positive support of the staff, they are a credit to the district and the council.”


GMB Union representative Frank Macklin has labelled any financial package to the chief exec as ‘a huge betrayal of trust.’

Pointing to the many professionals and independent reports that have raised concerns over a ‘bullying culture’ at TDC, Mr Macklin says policies and procedures should have been used to ‘clean house’ and  “ensure that poor behaviour will not be tolerated.”

He added that an “offer (of) a financial package to the Chief Executive to leave TDC, will be a huge betrayal of trust to the employees of TDC who, like the GMB Trade Union, are expecting the council to manage poor behaviour, not reward it.”

Damning report lists failures, “bullying,” “allegations without evidence,” and use of disciplinary action against staff raising grievances at Thanet council

Restructure of Thanet council top officers team and coaching for chief executive following damning report

Former top council officer’s grievance over claims of bullying leaked

GMB union call for Thanet council to overhaul way of dealing with bullying complaints against top officers

Trade union letter to Thanet council outlines allegations of ‘victimisation’ against authority employee

Tribunal judge slams Thanet council for string of failings and breaches in unfair dismissal ruling


  1. WOW .. behave terribly, do a terrible job and get paid loads and then get a massive pay off when you get found out… Where do I apply !

  2. How dare they pay her for such bad behaviour. It is from our money and she certainly doesn’t deserve it. This is how the council waste our money. I am sick and tired of paying them even 1p for the work ha ha that they do when they can do this.

  3. How big is the broom because a clean sweep is needed in order for Thanet to gain some form of respect within not only Kent but within the UK in totality.

  4. Good story Kathy. This is just the beginning. All of the people she has bullied must tell their stories too. This cannot just be swept under the carpet for the sake of a very expensive convenience that only benefits the offender. Is our Council Homer-phobic?

  5. About time,hopefully councillors on thanet council remember they are in charge NOT officers

    • That would be reassuring, were it not for the fact that the councillors are as bent and useless as many of the senior officers. Indeed, many of the councillors I’ve come into contact with can barely string a sentence together or tie their own shoelaces, leave alone be responsible for the state of a district and multi-million pound budgets.

      • Bent Councillors wealy? What did the police do when you presented them with the proof? (you didn’t have any)

    • These would be councillors that turn a blind eye to breaches of the law when it suits them in gaining what they want and in doing so hampering the councils officers from performing their duties properly?. Councillors are there to listen to their ward residents , adress areas of concern and help run the council, but being often untrained members of the public, the council officers having been trained and employed to ensure the councils functions inside the laws of the land , so are there to try and enact councillors wishes, whilst also endeavouring to have continuity between the various controlling parties over the years.
      Steering that path is where a competent and efficient senior ,management team becomes important.
      ( perhaps this comment won’t be deleted)

  6. Wow why did I do good wherever I worked, just like most people who worked hard for the good of the company and other people in general and get sweet fanny adams, we should have been more like Ms Homer and have been useless at our work and have got a payoff of loads of money, pride in doing what is right for everyone and being honest, good riddance to her and I hope the next person to hold the post is good at there job and serves the people & Council right.

  7. Getting rid of Homer is a first step. It is a disgrace that serious concerns, over many years, failed to secure improvements in her performance. The result is we either pay her off or engage in a very drawn out legal battle to dismiss her and get a “fair dismissal” ruling at the Tribunal Homer would be sure to go to.
    A pay-off is cheaper, in the long run and certainly far quicker.
    But! Councillors who have done little or nothing over many years to take Homer on have to consider their positions. Tory Bayford as Leader did nothing, Labour Everett as Leader did nothing. The Red and Blue Cllr’s who failed to challenge their Leader’s support for Homer are as much to blame.
    2023 sees TDC elections. All of us can examine how our Ward Cllr’s behaved over this time to identify if they are blameworthy or not. If they either actively supported Homer or just stood by doing nothing tell them now you won’t vote for them.
    The only Council group who have consistently challenged Homer and her cabal of Officers and Cllr’s have been Thanet Green Party Cllr’s.
    You can sit at home complaining with your keyboard or do something to secure meaningful change.

    • You’re absolutely right. But sadly the people of Thanet prefer the Tories or Labour…I’ll never understand why they get elected when they are so ineffective. Hopefully next May 2023 may bring a different culture to TDC

    • Green Councillors the hero’s weally? wow (I can’t stop laughing Boris would love this one)

  8. I fail at my employment I’m given my P45. People at the top fail and get paid large sums of money to go.

    TDC is toxic in many ways, both Officers & Councillors.

  9. It’s a shame the people of Thanet didn’t get a say in how much she should get. It wouldn’t have been tuppence.

  10. Good news about the exit. Better news that this will be the end of Waite too as his protection is gone.

    If there are any TDC Councillors reading this, please please do not fall into the trap of appointing recent senior TDC Executive colleagues into the post. Please appoint someone else who has no baggage and no history with TDC.

    Others have said what needs to be said about the pay off. Shameful when you think about what the district needs.

  11. Like I said the other day why does this country reward poor management ?

    She gets a good pay off for being crap and over seeing the bulling style of management.

    Its ridiculous.

    She will properly move on to another job with a glowing CV.

  12. What written references will TDC give Ms Homer for her potential future employer. Personally I think any future employer would do well to have a private conversation. Her reputation will precede her possibly both for what has been written in the press and on social media.

    • I would guess any reference would be along the lines of just confirming she was employed between these dates.

      You cant give a bad reference

      • You can, and should, give a factual, honest reference. It can actually be actionable in law to give a good reference to someone who has failed to deliver. Reference to the referral of the Council to central government, the damning audit report and the outcome of the subsequent independent review would be simple, indisputable facts that should put off any future employer.

  13. About flipping time, why wasn’t she sacked earlier?

    You can only blame District councillors for being so weak, maybe the worst aspect of all this during the chief executive’s reign is the accusations that council officers, read confidential emails addressed to councillors from constituents.

    And who wouldn’t prefer to see 327 thousand pounds spent fixing the toilets on Margate Beach rather than going on another pay-off for senior council officers?

    The upshot seems to me to be a cumulative million-plus wasted on poor management.

    Let’s see if anyone including politicians actually issues an apology. Shame all-round.

    • Ash Ashbee & the Green councillors tried to get her ousted. Ashbees predecessors were totally complicit

  14. Finally! Good riddance. She’s cost the place millions. What’s another £300k to be shot of her? Not right she get a payout but at least it’s saving residents of Thanet further £000,000s of mid-spenditure. Just need her gone by whatever means possible so the place can finally move on. Pity wherever she goes next but for Thanet let’s hope her generations of acolytes follow her out the door. This is our chance to put an end to a sordid, destructive, corrupt(?) era.

  15. GDPR they broke numerous times and ICO should be looking into how they have been using our data .

  16. Not hearing anything from Checksfield Nobster or Robster or whatever he is,I wonder why?
    It was bound to happen.Her position was hopeless.They could have set her up to fail, by monitoring her behaviour, but that would take time.
    I think there are some that clustered around her, who will now wish to consider their positions.
    People who find that they are over their head, often flail out, bully and have a blame culture. Much of the BJ Cabinet are in that frame of mind.
    She was always unfitted to manage a failing institution like Thanet.
    Changing the CEO won’t alter Thanet being a basket case.Its time to shut it down.

    • She started off well, and I kind of liked her, but then I realised… this cannot be happening… and U-Turned.

    • Cannot you be polite and refer/address people correctly or were you badly educated. Manners cost nothing.

  17. I’d like to understand how the appointment was made in the 1st place. This is the next investigation we need in Thanet. What due diligence was followed to make the hire, how was probation managed, how was feedback managed, how was ongoing performance managed and by whom?

    What governance structures exist that will ensure an effective recruitment decision is made for the pending interim and permanent appointment?

    With no HR Director in sight what hope do we have of an effective and professional resourcing campaign to be procured and run properly. I have little faith in any organisation that throws senior HR into the skip.

    In the meantime, who is going to put back the governance structure dismantled by UKIP and Bayford that took power away from Councillors and handed it to the staff?

    I fear it may get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

    Well done Ash for driving this. If you could find an equally evidence based perspective on Manston folks will be even happier.

  18. TDC is not fit for purpose, known as “Toxic”. I was a witness to bullying and of pay rises to the underserved. It was sickening. Start from scratch is the only solution!

  19. At last! Keeping Homer on gardening leave with full pay while a full inquiry went on could have cost a lot more than the £327K she’s been awarded for going immediately. Especially if all she got in the end was more training. Only recently Howes was trying to change the TDC Constitution to protect any of the senior officers being disciplined at all – ever! Luckily he was rumbled (repeatedly) and it wasn’t allowed. Hence his and now Homer’s demise. I hope she doesn’t want a reference from TDC! Waite next? Just look at the mess and wasted money at Ramsgate Harbour. What a shame Tim Willis went. He’d make an excellent CEO. My thoughts and opinions only.

  20. She has been wrong hundreds (if not thousands of times). There can be NO more excuses.
    Bring in a broad minded Person without ‘0’ vision, and Thanet will thrive.
    Of this I am sure!

  21. By whatever means she has gone, although rewarding bullying or any misdemeanor such as sexual harassment is shocking, the leader of Thanet District Council, Councillor Ash Ashbee has fought hard for ending the toxic culture. She too has been maligned by members of the Labour Party including the former Leader Cllr Rick Everitt and his lackeys like Cllr Steve Albon and members on social media. It was clear that they had no intention of delivering justice and had convinced themselves that Ms Homer was a star! I should imagine that they fought hard on her behalf if Cllr Harry Scobie’s Party line still stands:-
    “Labour Councillor Harry Scobie believes Ms Homer should remain in her post, labelling her “by far the best” chief executive he has worked with in his 10 years on the authority.

    “I think there’s a lot in there [the Grant Thornton report], but apart from that, I haven’t thought about it,” the Cliftonville West representative said.

    “I think Ms Homer is excellent.”

    “I’ve been a Councillor under three chief executives, and she’s by far the best. That’s as far as I’m prepared to go.”

    You went too far Harry, what would you know about excellence, eh?

    Quote from this story 8 months ago. https://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/council-boss-should-do-the-honourable-thing-resign-255973/

  22. Great news but we all know how this is going to work out. £327k severance pay and she’ll then just move onto another area to create devastation. She’s like a plague of locusts. For whoever she lands on please accept our sincere apologies.

  23. I feel let down by our councillors. They have allowed M Homer and her executive team to get away with bullying and poor management, which has cost the Thanet people thousands. My thoughts are with TDC employees, and I hope morale will improve with time.

  24. I’m also curious about so much Labour support for Madeline. It seemed to fly in the face of the increasing number of evidence based allegations in recent years and consistently failing to understand the mood music.

    Why would they be unwilling to manage performance? Why would they have been such keen champions and so content to overlook the mounting evidence?

    Does South Thanet Labour Party need a leadership change too?

    • Why would you say that Alice? The very Councillors that brought TDC into disrepute prior to 2015 election get reselected!!

    • Martin – does it matter if Clare is married to a Conservative Councillor? She has highlighted facts concerning other Political parties and their views. It appears perhaps you do not want to listen to alternative views.

      • Think further out of your box .
        Perhaps people are quite adept at analysing “facts “ and listening to alternative views

  25. Wow, the gravy train rolls on, when you calculate how many Chief Execs , director and head of services grades have gone from. David Ralls onwards it has probably cost the local taxpayer £20 million.

  26. Nice touch for ms homer. How come performance reviews cannot be undertaken and if not upto the job demote or remove at no cost to the tax payer. It’s not small money being handed out.

  27. What concerns me most is that her reward for failure was not recommended by the IMO. So which of his recommendations are actually being implemented, and if not why not? It seems to me TDC is yet again failing to understand and take the advice it is given. Had the IMO’s first recommendation been followed i.e. that TDC’s constitution be reviewed, the CEO would have been legally required to engage with councillors and share information with them in a way she never had before. That should have been allowed to operate for several months, before any change to her employment. Either way there would have been benefit from a managed transition, rather than the escape from responsibility that we will be paying more than £327K for.

  28. TDC Councillors were given two choices, agree the severance package and rebuild a broken system or continue with the legal junket which almost certainly would have cost the tax payer more in the long run.

    Continual serious leaks of confidential information posted on social media were obviously a major factor.

    Residents and Councillors expected much more from the senior management team but petty jealousy, inflated ego’s, incompetence and poor decision making was evident among all.

    Thanet deserves better.

  29. good riddance and should not get a penny of my tax money.
    TDC will not improve for years, happy to throw money at any rubbish.

  30. I assume the £327k payment is given to go towards paying for her leaving do. Isn’t this the way in politics these days? I pity the staff that has to come in and clear up the mess after her departure.

  31. Delighted Homer has gone. Now the whole council needs to be subject to a root and branch review. At the same time all those councillors of all political complexions who colluded with Homer need to resign or be voted out at the next council elections. A thorough clear out of dead wood and the compromised should take place if TDCis to move forward.

  32. I would seriously like to hear how you think that can be achieved? answers on a post card. You can only vote for who is on the ballot.

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