Councils are already required to be transparent about the sums they are paying their senior officers. The Localism Act provides further accountability by requiring these pay deals to be approved at a full council meeting. The ceiling is set at £100,000 – above that annual salary approval is required..
Also guidance being issued today will make clear this should also information on the pensions and bonuses for top bureaucrats – not just their basic salaries.
The pay policy for senior staff would also have to cover arrangements for the "boomerang bosses" who "double dip." These are staff who take advantage of the early retirement available in the public sector but then come back to work at their old jobs. It is presented as a saving if they are on a lower salary but they are "double dipping" into the public purse drawing a pension and a salary at the same time.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“The Localism Act opens up council pay rules so the full force or transparency can expose the dubious practice of double dipping, and shine the light on boomerang bosses and mega-pay packets over
“Decisions like this should not be taken behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms- local authorities should scrutinise these practices at full council meetings and bring council pay back to earth A.S.A.P.
“Any responsible locally elected councillor will want to use their pay vote to show taxpaying residents they mean business over some of the shoddy practices swirling around top Town Hall jobs.”
I think it is sometimes justified to pay a Council bureaucrat a six figure salary. Sometimes it is justified to pay them a performance bonus. Sometimes it is justified for a retired Council bureaucrat to be brought back in some form as a consultant (although to be doing the same job they supposedly retired from does indeed seem dubious.) The case would have to be made that such arrangements are value for money.
The problem is that frequently they aren't value for money. There is a lack of rigour to the process. It is all too cosy with most councillors unaware of what is going on.