THE Isle of Wight Council paid almost £14,000 to the chair of the children’s safeguarding board last year — for working an average of two days a month.

Former police officer Derek Benson also chairs similar boards in Worcestershire and Hampshire. Last year he was paid more than £45,000 for working two days a month on each board.

It equates to an average of £600 a day for his services to all three boards.

On the Isle of Wight, Mr Benson was paid a salary of £10,800 and expenses of £3,166 between April, 2018, and February, 2019.

During that period he worked 24 days.

The previous year he was paid £16,500 and £3,262 in expenses.

In Hampshire, Mr Benson was paid a salary of £14,653 and expenses of £1,748 between April, 2018, and February, 2019.

In total, he was paid more than £63,000 for his work on the Isle of Wight and in Hampshire last two years — working four days a month.

The council said the daily rate of £600 was in line with amount paid by other authorities and ‘reflects the level of responsibility and experience needed to do the job.’

A spokesperson for the council said: “It is not unusual for somebody who is chair of a safeguarding children’s board to serve on boards in other areas too. There are people in many parts of the country who chair more than one Local Safeguarding Children Board.

“Indeed, there are often benefits, as this provides opportunities to compare areas and share ideas.”

The board’s job is to oversee agencies involved in child protection and hold them to account, ensuring children are safe and well cared for. It conducts serious case reviews when children have died, or seriously harmed, due to abuse, neglect or sexual exploitation.

Mr Benson said he sometimes worked additional hours, alongside the two each month.

He said: “Anyone who commits to a working life in public service should reasonably expect a level of informed and constructive scrutiny.

“The fact the safeguarding of children is of such critical importance makes accountability even more essential.

“At present I chair three children’s and one adults’ board, and I am aware of many other chairs who oversee more than one board.

“The remuneration rates are determined by the partner agencies. While each post involves a commitment of two paid days per month, inevitably additional discretionary hours are spent fulfilling my duties.

“This allows me to maintain effective contact and communication with colleagues from the respective boards and associated partners, and I look forward to continuing this important work.”