BOURNEMOUTH council is facing a bill of almost half a million pounds for the redundancy of its managing director.

Having missed out in the bid to become the chief executive of the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) council, Jane Portman is now in line for a £117,000 redundancy pay-out, having worked for the council for 12 years.

On top of this, the soon-to-be-abolished local authority will be required to make a £355,000 pension contribution due to her leaving before reaching retirement age.

The development comes less than two years after Bournemouth council spent £390,000 making its chief executive redundant.

Ms Portman, who previously headed-up the council’s children’s and adults’ services work following four years at Poole council, had applied for the top position at the new council but lost out to HM chief land registrar, Graham Farrant.

The decision was criticised by Bournemouth councillor Bob Chapman at October’s meeting of the transition-managing shadow authority, who said the move was not the way to treat a ‘first-rate executive’.

Ms Portman will continue in her role until the end of March, leaving before the new council comes into being, which avoids her being transferred into the new authority and extending the redundancy process.

She has held the top job at Bournemouth council since April 2017 when she was promoted from her executive director role and has subsequently led the transition work to the new unitary authority.

She said: “Every one of my 33 years in public and voluntary service has been a pleasure and a privilege.

“I have immensely enjoyed serving the residents of Bournemouth and Poole.

“I am proud to have led the local government reorganisation programme for BCP council, and I wish the new council every success for the future.”

The redundancy arrangements, which will see Ms Portman paid £117,299.36 and a £355,621 ‘pension strain’ contribution made on her behalf, will be signed-off at Tuesday’s meeting of Bournemouth council.

Its leader, John Beesley, said Ms Portman had been 'instrumental' in 'driving forward' the case for local government reorganisation in Dorset.

The shadow authority has allocated £1.5 million to cover the costs of early redundancies as part of the local government reorganisation process.

Bournemouth council's last chief executive, Tony Williams, left in 2017 after four months off sick, and was given a £390,000 pay-off. Mr Williams, who had held the top job since 2012, died last year.

It was later claimed in Parliament, by Christchurch MP Sir Chris Chope, that he might have been forced out because he planned to investigate Cllr Beesley's business interests. Cllr Beesley claimed the allegations were unfounded.

Ms Portman filled in following Mr Williams' departure and later took the title of managing director.

As well as the departure of Ms Portman, the top roles at Christchurch and Poole councils are to be lost and combined into Mr Farrant’s new position.

Four chief executive positions will go as part of the merger of the rural Dorset councils, including the departure of Dorset County Council's Debbie Ward who left in November having been overlooked for the top job on both of the new councils.

As part of her redundancy, she was paid £170,000 plus a £300,000 pension contribution was made by the county council.