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Greater scrutiny on Council Officers' salaries welcomed


Yesterday the Minister for Local Governmentissued a statement on the salaries and appointment of Council Chief Officers which is intended to make the process more open and accountable.
This follows on from several incidents recently where payments made to senior staff have been brought into question.
Whilst reaffirming a belief that responsibility for salaries and appointments lie firmly with Local Authorities Lesley Griffiths said there was a need to look again at how current arrangements are operating. Local Authorities are already required to publish statements on how much senior officers are paid, but there will now be more regulation of exactly what information they have to provide.
In future it is likely that Local Authorities will, if they wish to vary the salary of their Chief Executive, have to seek approval from the remuneration panel which already oversees Councillors pay. This is currently being consulted on.
Another regulation which will be brought in from May says that any position with a salary over £100,000 must be advertised externally unless it is only temporary.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts welcomes any moves toward greater accountability but questions whether they are enough
"It is all very well making figures available to show the public what salaries are being paid to Chief Officers, but there is still no standardisation of salaries or any cap on what can be paid.
As for advertising externally then surely that should be standard practice anyway, and it doesn't stop jobs being given to internal candidates if they fit the bill.
"There are no doubt people in RCT who think that should apply further down the line too, and why not. Head of PR and Strategy Christian Hanagan was given that job on around £60K a year with no interview and no competition from either external or indeed internal candidates, moving rapidly up the ladder from his previous post as PA to the Council Leader.
"He is the son of a Cabinet Member and a former Labour party Council candidate. The post was created for him, the department is substantial and he sits at the top table with the Chief Officers. Shouldn't posts such as this warrant greater scrutiny too?"

Payments made to senior staff

£60K a year with no interview

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