Pay increases and bonuses for top officers at Herts County Council

Senior council officers are set to receive a two per cent pay rise.

Senior council officers are set to receive a two per cent pay rise. - Credit: Archant

Senior officers at Hertfordshire County Council are set to receive a two per cent pay rise and a £3,000 bonus, provided they’ve exceeded their targets.

On Monday, it was agreed that all chief officers, deputies and assistant directors and heads of service who have ‘fully achieved’ or ‘exceeded’ their targets should receive a two per cent ‘cost of living’ salary increase.

Those senior members of staff who have ‘exceeded’ in their annual performance review could receive a £3,000 bonus too.

The payments were agreed by a meeting of the county council’s employment committee on Monday (February 11) – though the council’s chief executive will have the final say on those below chief officer level.

However Labour county councillor Sharon Taylor, who is also leader of Stevenage Borough Council, voted against the bonus element.

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Last year, the committee was told, 12 per cent of the county council’s 124 ‘senior managers’ (that’s around 14 employees) qualified for the £3000 bonus.

But, with some of those senior managers earning in excess of £100,000, Cllr Taylor questioned the approach.

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She said: “Taking people who earn over £100,000 and giving them extra money for the job you have asked them to do...I don’t understand the logic of that.

“£3,000 is a lot of extra money.

“Even if it was just paid to 14 people, they are 14 people who are all extremely well paid anyway.”

Cllr Taylor said that to most of the people she represented £3,000 would make an enormous difference, but not so much for the staff that would qualify for this payment.

Meanwhile, committee member Cllr Richard Roberts, executive member for adult care and health, said he “fully supported this approach”.

Leader of the council Cllr David Williams said the additional payment was more in recognition than as an incentive and that it had been put forward as part of a two-year deal last year.

He pointed to the council’s move to ‘spot’ salaries for senior officers, which had taken away the incremental increases that had operated in the past.

He also pointed to benchmarking that had shown senior salaries at the county council were relatively low, compared to neighbouring authorities.

Ultimately, the five-strong committee backed the salary increase and the additional payments, but Cllr Taylor voted against the additional payment element.

Reports to the meeting of the committee highlighted the wages bill to the councils 114 senior managers is £8.5million.

Fourteen members of staff are paid in excess of £100,000.

Last year around 12 per cent of senior managers qualified for the £3,000 bonus.

The report to the committee highlights lower paid employees who last year received increases of between 3.7 per cent and 9.1 per cent.

It says that in April 2019 those employees on lower grades will see increases in excess of two per cent to keep their salaries above the National Living Wage, which will increase to £8.21.

Meanwhile, reports to the committee also highlighted the lowest full-time equivalent salary at the council is £17,364 – with the exception of health and social care trainees who are paid £110 a week.

Last year the ratio between the lowest and highest paid members of staff was 1:6.8.

According to the county council, it is not expected to be significantly different when its recalculated in April.

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