The Audit Commission publishes a report today on the pay of town hall chief executives. Its findings include:

  • Basic salary levels for town hall chief executives have soared in recent years above the basic pay of private sector chief executives and other public sector organisations.
  • Higher turnover rates are driving up salaries.
  • Town halls are incurring considerable expense on severance costs and recruitment costs.
  • Changing chief executive does not lead to any clear improvement in council performance.

The Conservatives are warning that the Government plans’ to impose unitary structures across many areas of the country will lead to massive restructuring costs, severance payments, recruitment costs and push up wage inflation of town hall bosses – who will demand more for the new larger, authority. Eric Pickles said:

"Local taxpayers will be very concerned that their council tax bills are being pushed up by unjustified rises in town hall pay. A good chief executive should be able to turn around a poor authority, but this new research shows that this is not happening. Chief Executives pay seems to owe more to a virility statement by local authorities than value for money and improved services  for the hard pressed council tax payer.

“I fear that the costs to the taxpayer of town hall salaries, severance pay and recruitment are going to soar further under Labour Ministers’ flawed proposals to restructure councils in many parts of the country. Under Gordon Brown, people are paying more and getting less."

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