Eye-watering council pay packets revealed as watchdog publishes ‘town hall rich lists’

The Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead
The Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Top dogs at County Hall and the Dacorum Civic Centre have defended their decisions to award salaries of more than £100,000 a year to some officers.

The latest figures for local authority workers on six-figure salaries have been compiled in a report dubbed ‘The Town Hall Rich List’ by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The data, which compares the years 2011-12 and 2012-13, reveals Herts has a total of 15 employees on the eye-watering pay packets. This puts it in the top 25 in the country for the numbers of workers earning above £100,000.

But Herts County Council says it has reduced its number of top-tier officers by six from the previous year when it was at 21, and since 2010, the number has reduced by 45.

County council cabinet member for resources Derrick Ashley said: “The salaries paid to senior officers reflect the responsibilities of the post. If you consider the size of the council, our budget, proximity to London and the number of residents we work for, our senior management costs are at the lower end of the scale when compared with other councils in the region.

“Since April 2010 we have reduced our headcount by 24.3 per cent across council departments, equating to 2,699 staff. Our total annual pay bill is has reduced from £268m in 2012-13 to £225m in 2013-14, which is a reduction of £42million.

“Our most senior management team has been reviewed a number of times and has reduced by 28.3 per cent since April 2010 with total savings of more than £3million.”

At the lower end of the scale, but still with four workers picking up the fat cheques according to the report, is Dacorum Borough Council.

The authority says it has since reduced this number to three, with the borough’s ‘top tier’ now made up of Sally Marshall as chief executive and two corporate directors.

Ms Marshall said: “The Taxpayers’ Alliance figures cover the financial years from 2011-12 and 2012-2013.

“During 2013 the council agreed to reduce the top tier of its management structure from four posts, as shown in the figures, to three posts.

“Following my appointment as chief executive, I finalised the top tier review and associated senior management structure which resulted in a total saving during 2013-14 of £120,000, based on a part-year saving, and a full year saving of £170,000.”

According to the report, there are three councils around the UK which don’t employ anyone on a salary of more than £100,000. Dacorum is one of 16 who pay less than five officers the princely sum, as shown in the list.

Details of senior staff pay for both the borough and county council can be viewed at any time. Visit dacorum.gov.uk and search ‘annual statement of accounts’ for borough figures, or the open data section of Herts’ website at hertsdirect.org for county information.