Social services chiefs on more than £100,000 a year could face tougher scrutiny over salaries under government plans for councils in England.
Salaries above this threshold will have to be approved by councillors under measures in the Localism Bill, now going through parliament. It will apply to new appointments and could include future directors of children’s and adults’ services.
Local government secretary Eric Pickles said: “Local government jobs will now have to be ‘democracy proofed’ before mega-salaries are paid. The democratically elected members of any council should make sure they have their say on pay and that £100,000 is the place to start that.”
The announcement angered the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives, which said the minister’s attacks on its members amounted to bullying.
“This is the latest in a long line of incidents of picking on local government managers, and it will eventually deter people from seeking these positions,” said Mary Orton, the association’s honorary secretary. “People will think they don’t need the aggravation.
“Some of our members are receiving hate mail on the back of this. We’re public servants who devote our lives to our communities. I could earn a lot more in the private sector if I chose to.”
Orton, who is chief executive of Waverley Council in Surrey, added: “Ten thousand staff in the NHS earn more than £145,000, but I don’t hear the secretary of state complaining about them.”
A spokesperson for the Association of Directors of Children’s Services said executive pay was a question for elected members and chief executives but declined to comment further.
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