Consistency needed in Senior Officer Pay

Plaid also proposes to scrap additional election fees

Plaid Cymru has today welcomed the inquiry report into Senior Management Pay by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee but says more consistency is needed in the pay across local government.

Rhodri Glyn and Jonathan

The report makes 23 recommendations on how to ensure decisions regarding pay arrangements for senior managers are accountable and transparent. Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Local Government, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM – who has led efforts to tackle high levels of senior officer pay – said there are too many discrepancies in the way senior council officers are paid.

Speaking in the National Assembly today, the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM noted the contrasting pay ratios between the highest and lowest paid employees in local government.

Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Conwy Councils, Mr Thomas said, are all in the top four when it comes to the best ratio between the lowest paid and highest paid worker within a council. The four most unequal local authorities, in order, are Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Giving a broad welcome to the report’s recommendations, Rhodri Glyn Thomas told Assembly Members that additional fees paid to council officers to undertake election duties as Returning Officers should be scrapped.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said:

“As a result of a Plaid Cymru’s efforts during the Local Democracy Bill last year, we now see the remuneration of senior officers being discussed in the open – a major step forward from when such decisions were being made behind closed doors. However there is still a long way to go to make senior management pay fairer and much more transparent.

“There are significant variations between local councils whereby authorities of a similar character and profile have vastly different pay scales. Pembrokeshire has had the highest paid Chief Executive at over £190,000. But the Chief Executive of neighbouring council, Ceredigion, is paid at £108,000. A similar sum is paid to the Chief Executives of Gwynedd and Conwy councils where these councils still outperform Pembrokeshire on several indicators.

“Additionally, there are great variations in the pay ratios within councils with Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire councils paying their Chief Executives more than twelve times that of the lowest paid employee.

“Plaid Cymru believes there should be no additional fees should be paid to Council senior officers for undertaking Returning Officer duties at election time. Swansea Council does not pay their chief executive a penny to undertake election duties, and we do not see why others should pocket up to tens of thousands of pounds in addition to their very well paid jobs.

“We want all public bodies to pay the living wage as soon as their finances allow. In some councils, steps have already been taken to increase the pay of the lowest paid workers. Regrettably, though, those who have already introduced a living wage are ones with greater inequalities in relation to their senior officer pay. That’s why we need greater consistency between all authorities and not competition between them.”