Monday 21 March 2011

Two Million Pound Payout Puts H&F At The Top Of Senior Bureaucrats’ Pay League

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is one of the smallest out of the 33 in the Capital but it has paid some of the largest salaries to its top bureaucrats. A staggering £2,002,719.00 was paid to just nine people in the financial year ending 2009/10 including pension payments and bonuses.

You can click on the attached graph, which was compiled by the TaxPayers Alliance, to see how your money was spent. The graph doesn’t however include payments to people classed as consultants but who actually work full time for the Council and its subsidiaries. So for 2009/10 you can also add an extra £225,611.00 payment for Mr. Nick Johnson who was the "consultant" acting as the lead “full time” official for the council housing management service.

Just a few weeks ago, H&F's Conservative Administration voted through £33 million of cuts to many vital front line services. It is hard to comprehend why they didn’t cut any of these salaries or indeed the numbers of senior officials as has happened in other councils. It is worth reflecting that a year earlier H&F Conservatives had awarded the Council's senior directors an amazing 16% pay rise so they clearly do not see tackling this issue as a priority.

Last June Eric Pickles MP (Con), the Local Government Secretary, boasted that he would tackle these large payouts but he has chosen not to do that and allowed Cameron’s favourite Council to hand out some of the largest payments to bureaucrats in the UK.

Prior to the elections H&F’s Labour councillors stood on a manifesto that would have cut at least two directors positions and removed at least 10% of assistant director positions. We would have engineered a smaller management structure that is more in line with modern, efficient organisations. I believe it is right to cut senior bureaucrats pay as not only are these people being paid vast amounts more than senior managers in other sectors but they are also some of the few employees left in the UK who benefit from index linked pensions. Indeed, there are serious cultural problems with local government. Senior officials work in a world where it’s the norm for many of them to retire early, where it’s difficult to sack them no matter how far they’ve failed to deliver and often receive huge payouts when they leave. And when they’ve left, many pop up again as “consultants” – a mechanism that has the benefit of allowing them to continue to work full time on high consultant rates whilst also receiving their full and extremely generous tax payer funded pensions.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many excellent local government officials. But the pay and remuneration senior bureaucrats receive is completely out of sync with what most Britons have to put up with. Given that their remuneration comes from the taxes the rest of us pay out I cannot see why all this is considered acceptable, particularly in these straitened times. 

There needs to be a national review of the pay, terms and conditions for senior local government officials. It has got completely out of hand. This current situation adds to the confusion of who David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is actually talking about when he tells us his austerity budget is necessary but "we're all in it together."


Anonymous said...

That’s outrageous. LB Hackney only employ 4 directors and the chief exec is on £170k – a total of £100,474 less than Hammersmith and Fulham’s. That borough is much bigger in size, in population has bigger problems to get past but they are a better council than LBHF.

LB Islington is looking for a chief executive on £160k. Why do Hammersmith’s citizens have to fork out so much more? And for what?

Anonymous said...

Why did Nigel Pallace get a £16,341.00 bounus? Is he not the director responsible for the atrocious Town Hall scheme?