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Bonkers Blog September 2013

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16 September (Part 2) - Pleading poverty but doing OK thank you very much

Pay freezeThere has been a pay freeze at Bexley council for four years, there has been in many places, but Bexley’s top brass appears to be getting restless. (See document extract.)

My heart bleeds, it must be hard to get by on something between ten and twenty thousand a month and I am glad to note that “there is no evidence at this stage that recruitment and retention has been significantly affected amongst Hay graded employees as a result of nil pay awards”. Hence the recommendation by Bexley council’s senior staff to continue to cap the salaries of Bexley council’s senior staff in 2013/14. “In view of the Council’s on-going financial position and the requirement to continue to deliver very challenging expenditure reductions as detailed under the Council’s Strategy 2014 Programme, a nil salary award is recommended by the Management Board for Hay graded employees for 2012/13.”

All fine and dandy and publicly available information. What has actually been happening?

For that we must fast forward to the yet to be published 2012/13 accounts.
Pension rises
The pension contribution paid as a percentage of salary has gone up quite nicely for all four Directors. A couple of thousand extra in your pension pot is not to be sneezed at. Lots of people would be glad of a contribution like that as their annual salary. I wonder what the new salaries are.

Well the Chief Executive’s didn’t move at all between 2011/12 and 2013/13. Neither did Peter Ellershaw’s (Environment and Wellbeing). Same for Paul Moore (Customer and Corporate Services). Mark Charters (Education and Social Care) got a £3,169 leg up and and Mike Ellsmore (Finance and Resources) did even better with an extra £5,175 (†). Not bad going for people on a pay freeze and preparing the ground for that to change.

Strange that a flat rate percentage pension contribution has resulted in all round Director level increases without all of them seeing pay increases. But thank goodness they all got an extra something, otherwise Bexley might not be able to “retain excellent staff who we need to deliver the significant challenges ahead”. It’d be a shame if Bexley was no longer able to hit the headlines for most expensive child care, poor child care or leaving old ladies to die; all because it stopped paying very nearly the highest public authority salaries in the country.

Out of dateNote: Excluded from the salaries listed is ‘Benefits in Kind’ ranging from an extra £1,262 to £10,621 each. Also Mr. Ellsmore’s ‘Emergency payment’ of (†) £8,823, paid in 2011/12 but not in 2012/13.
The figures shown are not yet publicly available. Hence no links. The last time Bexley council updated its website to reflect current senior staff payments was January 2012. Maybe they aren’t happy to trumpet the truth too loudly.

Example shown. Click for original page.


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