Local councils struggling to recruit and retain senior talent

The Public Sector People Managers’ Association (PPMA) has spoken of the challenges faced by state-paid HR professionals, after it emerged that a council chief executive would be retaining his £116,000 salary but cutting down his working hours to a four-day week.

Three Rivers District Council claimed the deal for chief executive Steven Halls – who wants to improve his work-life balance – will cost less than hiring a replacement.

Jim Savege, the PPMA’s lead officer for pay and reward, claimed the case highlighted the real difficulties local authorities faced in recruiting to senior positions and retaining talented people.

He said: “In the public sector in particular, salary is only one part of the package and is often bettered by what the private sector can offer.

“Faced with this competition, and in increasingly difficult circumstances, public sector HR professionals are finding they need to be creative and offer an overall package to attract the best candidates, making the most of other aspects such as work-life balance.”

A spokesman for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives said: “The councils negotiate contracts and pay for chief executives. It is a matter for those councils to make decisions based on the individual’s circumstances and the needs of their communities.”

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