Thursday, April 01, 2010

Town Halls Still Rich

No April Fools joke - Kent once again the winner

For those concerned about public sector profligacy, the TaxPayers' Alliance's annual Town Hall Rich List has become a must-read. Indeed, it's not too much to say that it's changed the policies of all three main parties, who all now promise much more transaparency and accountability over what top council officials pay themselves.

So well done TPA.

Well, thank you very much.

The fourth annual Rich List is published today (download here). Key points:
  • 1250 council staff earned more than £100,000 in 2008-09, a 14% increase over the year. 
  • 31 earned more than the Prime Minister
  • The average pay rise for these Town Hall fat cats was 5% - in the same year, teachers got 2.3% and nurses got 2.7%
  • The highest paying council was Kent, which had 27 bureaucrats on more than £100,000 (the top 2 got more than £300 grand)
Of course, one of the really useful things about the Rich List is that you can check on your own council - the one that's just demanded yet another increase in Council Tax (and despite the need for national belt-tightening, CT is still set to rise by an average 2% next year).

In Tyler's case, Surrey County Council has 7 staff on over £100k, with the Chief Exec on £205k.

Well, actually that's no longer true. As we blogged here, the Chief Exec and several other top staff (including at least two others from the 7), subsequently"left" after the Council's services got slammed for poor performance by the Audit Commission. Things were so bad that a temporary Chief Exec had to be parachuted in to sort it out, finding "a failure of leadership, culture and governance in its widest sense".

Which just goes to show - you can pay top dollar, that's easy. But it doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the quality of service provided.
As we've blogged many times, the only thing that will achieve that is full fiscal decentralisation. Councils must once again be made accountable to local people and not the Whitehall (and see this TPA Research Note).

PS A special pat on the back for the TPA's John O'Connell, who produced this year's Rich List. Production requires sending out and sifting through the hundreds of Freedom of Information requests to individual councils, so well done John.

1 comment:

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