Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seems to make sense

I wasn't aware until recently that local authorities set their own salary, wage and benefits packages that were outside the remit of elected councillors. Seems councillors were responsible for the budget, but not the contents thereof, which is why we somehow ended up with 43% of chief executives of local authorities receiving over £150,000 in salary and fees last year, which was more than the prime minister’s 2010 salary of £142,500.
So as an attempt to stop anyone getting paid more than the prime minister  cut down on these packages the government has decided that local councillors who are elected should get a say in what their chief executives actually get paid.

Councils will have to publicly vote on any pay package worth more than £100,000 in the latest attempt to rein in sharp increases in local authority pay.
Local authorities are currently free to set pay levels for their executives with elected councillors given little oversight of the arrangements.
Earlier this week, it emerged that 220 local authority chief executives were paid more than the £142,500 that the Prime Minister received last year.
Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, has been frustrated by repeated attempts to persuade councils to cut their salary bills.
Many local authorities are threatening to cut front-line services despite failing to reduce the pay packages of senior executives.
Mr Pickles told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "This is just part of the checks and balances so that it allows every councillor to consciously make a decision with regard to senior pay.
"It just seems to me to be a reasonable thing to do." 
Well we all know that threatening to cut frontline services is simply blackmail on the part of the councils anyway, there are a lot of things they do like diversity/racism/environmentalism projects that could go first along with translation services for immigrants etc but no, threaten their budgets and they reach for bin collections and police officers because they hope this will force the government to back down. It certainly worked in the past anyway, though I think it's percolating down to local levels that the money fountain has blocked up.
I don't know if councillors will actually do anything about their chief executive pay levels, I suspect Labour ones won't give a damn, but it does strike me as a good idea that councillors should have some financial control over the people that run the authorities and what they are getting paid. Certainly it will give their opposition some ammunition if they don't get this matter under some sort of control, I don't believe anyone in public services is worth over £142,000 particularly when it has to come out of our pockets. If they want to earn more they can try it in private industry where you get paid what the market decides, somehow I doubt there will be many takers for that though.

5 annotations:

William said...

Just as bizarrely these councils give themselves planning permission.
Time to starve the beast?

Quiet_Man said...

Oh yes, a long time past starving it.

Anonymous said...

If a council has a budget of £100 million and spends £5million a year on meals on wheels and has to make savings of 5% where will the axe fall? Well we all know the answer. Local jobsworth gobshite councillors will always do the maximum to embarrass the Government while protecting their powerbase.

Solution abolish Local Government and deliver all services from central Government!!!!!!!!!!!

English Pensioner said...

From what I hear on the Jungle Drums (yes, I use those words), some of the councillors aren't doing to badly either, particularly those who are "Portfolio Holders" on the County Councils who seem to be effectively in full time employment

subrosa said...

It was your last sentence which caught my eye QM. My thoughts exactly.