Localism Bill to hand pay power to full council with £100,000 vote
- Published on Wednesday, 16 February 2011 15:20
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Locally elected councillors should all have to vote on decisions about whether they want to pay staff salaries over £100,000, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles suggested today(16th Febuary)Ministers today signalled their intention to issue new guidance on a salary ceiling at which remuneration decisions should be always brought before a full council vote. Ministers believe that threshold should be set at £100,000.
"The changes we are introducing will mean that local government jobs will now have to be 'democracy proofed' before mega salaries are paid out. I think the democratically elected members of any council should make sure they have their say on pay and that £100,000 is the place to start that."
The Localism Bill includes provisions to require councils to prepare and publish a statement setting out the authority's policy on the remuneration arrangements of its chief officers which must be approved by full council. Big bonuses and above inflation annual pay rises might also have to be included.
This will ensure decisions on senior pay are taken by all the democratically elected councillors in the council at an open meeting, instead of behind closed doors.
The new measures are designed to improve transparency and local democratic accountability in how senior pay is set within local government. Councils must have regard for any guidance issued by the Secretary of State when they carry out their responsibilities on these measures.
The pay bill for top managers in local government was estimated at £626.9m in 2008 by the Local Government Association group, the Local Government Employers.
Last year Mr Pickles called for council chief executives earning over £200,000 to take a ten per cent pay cut and those earning £150,000 - which is more than the Prime Minister's current salary of £142,000 - to take a 5 per cent pay cut.
Eric Pickles said:
"Councils need to make sure they don't sully their reputation by taking decision behind closed doors to reward chief executives when they should be focusing resources on protecting frontline services.
"The changes we are introducing will mean that local government jobs will now have to be 'democracy proofed' before mega salaries are paid out. I think the democratically elected members of any council should make sure they have their say on pay and that £100,000 is the place to start that.
"The Localism Bill is one of the most radical pieces of legislation to be debated in Parliament for decades. It prizes democracy over bureaucracy, and our intention is that it should fundamentally shake up the balance of power in this country."