Publishing senior council officers’ pay will deter applicants, warns expert

Senior council individuals should not be forced to disclose their pay and bonuses as it may put talented people off applying for top roles, a pay expert has warned.

The Public Sector People Managers Association (PPMA) lead on pay, Jim Savege, told Personnel Today the government’s plan to require councils to share the full financial details of more than 2,500 senior posts had gone a step too far.

Instead, pay bands could be disclosed, outlining how many staff were entitled to each salary band, he said.

“We support a proper level of transparency, but a balance needs to be sought with confidentiality of the individual,” said Savege. “Rights to privacy don’t go away just because you work in the public sector.

“The publishing of salary banding information would be better. It could [adversely] affect recruitment if individuals’ pay is disclosed.”

He added: “Closer scrutiny on pay should apply across the public sector, not just local government, as there is huge diversity in awards.”

Last week, local government minister John Healey launched a consultation on plans to force local authorities to reveal top earners’ salaries, bonuses, pensions and redundancy pay-offs, to prevent “spiralling salaries”.

The heads of Newham and Wandsworth councils in London are paid more than £240,000 a year, compared to Gordon Brown’s salary of £194,250, for example.

Meanwhile, Savege refused to shed any light on the 2009-10 local government pay deal, expected to be agreed by the end of April.

“Trade unions have put their request on the table and that’s being considered,” he said. “I can’t say anymore.”

The PPMA previously conceded that pay awards needed to be scaled back in the current clim

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