Council staff on £58,000 to be named in war on waste

Council staff on £58,000 to be named in war on waste - Telegraph

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Council staff on £58,000 to be named in war on waste

Interactive map of perks and redundancy payments for council staff (click)

As many as 15,000 council workers earning more than £58,000 a year are to be named under government plans to force local authorities to cut middle management waste, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

It is understood that Eric Pickles believes that councils should focus on 'middle management waste' before scrapping front-line services

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor 10:00PM GMT 06 Feb 2011 316 Comments

Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, is to order councils to list the staff and detail their responsibilities.

Many local authorities are threatening to increase charges or make cuts to front- line services because of the steep reduction in central government funding that comes into effect in April. The proposed cuts, including the closure of libraries, a squeeze on social care and a refusal to fill in pot holes, are proving politically damaging for the Coalition.

It is understood that Mr Pickles believes that councils should focus on “middle management waste” before scrapping front-line services. He hopes making salary details public will undermine claims by council chiefs that services must be cut because of budget pressures.

Official figures show that council spending on middle managers is more than £2.4billion – a rise of more than 20 per cent in the last three years.

According to an analysis of council accounts, in 1997 when Labour came to power the average local authority employed just seven people earning more than £50,000 a year. By 2008 this had risen to 81 people per council. Local authorities employing the most middle managers include Birmingham, Hampshire and Essex councils.

It is expected that the move to publish salaries will provoke public anger and effectively force councils to cut their wage bills. Local authorities are thought to have warned the Government privately that staff could be at risk of being assaulted if their details are made public.

The Department for Communities and Local Government will today publish a “draft Code of Recommended Practice for Local Government Data Transparency” setting out the order to publish salaries – £58,000 is the point at which a public official is deemed a senior civil servant.

Last year, the Cabinet Office indicated that it would name all Whitehall civil servants earning more than this amount. It later abandoned the plan after internal protests and only identifies those earning more than £150,000.

Mr Pickles said: “The taxpayer has a right to look under the bonnet of their council and see what decisions are being made on their behalf and where their money is being spent.
“I asked all councils to put online everything they spend over £500 and the majority have had the good sense to do so. Today I’m publishing a new code that will take councils to the next level, bringing middle management into the daylight and giving those not ready to open up a clear game plan to follow. Transparency must be the underlying principal behind everything councils do. Every aspect of council business should be open to public scrutiny including top money, middle management, councillor expenses, audit results, voluntary sector funding – it can help save money in tough times, protecting front-line services, by cutting waste and unnecessary costs.”

A Whitehall source added: “Under Labour there was an explosion in local authority middle management with the taxpayer left to foot a hefty bill.

“In many cases it’s not clear what people in these jobs do or how they provide value for money. Getting rid of this bloated bureaucracy will, in many instances, help councils protect front line services.”

It is understood that councils will initially be asked to release the information on a voluntary basis. The department will intervene and force the publication of the data if local authorities refuse.

There are thought to be 15,388 people working in local councils earning more than £60,000 a year – and several thousand more earning between £58,000 and £60,000. Over the past decade, the number of council middle managers has risen eleven-fold – compared with a three-fold rise in the number of equivalent private sector earners.


Book Reviewer
Call me Dave did say the "sunlight is the best disinfectant". I guess we'll soon find out.

It really depends on how this information is published - just a name and a salary will tell us next to nothing. They should publish other information such as number of direct and indirect reports, departmental budget, etc.

I might just assume that someone controlling 1,000 people with a budget of £2M is worth £60K; someone with responsibility for 4 people and with a budget of £250K is not.



Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Having worked in the NHS I understand what is meant by "the explosion of middle management roles", however, councils must be very careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Very often these middle management people are the experienced and knowledgeable people who keep the system going as they know how it operates.

A lot of these posts come about because a gap is identified in the services that a council offers. This gap is filled, but after a few years the person looking for a way up the promotion ladder, a middle management rank is created and someone is then recruited to do the original job. While this is a very natural and human thing, it is weak management and also very expensive; councils should be looking at whether a manager and a public facing person(s) is what is really needed.

By all means get rid of the meaningless post such as Diversity Managers and Welfare Rights Managers and Traveller's Rights Managers and any other make-work type posts but don't lose the real experience and service provision just to continue to appear completely PC.

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