Thursday, June 20, 2024

Thurrock Council: No pay increase recommended for senior management

A Thurrock Council committee has rejected a recommendation to increase senior managers’ pay by 4 per cent.

The general services committee has instead opted to support no pay increase to become part of the council’s “Pay Strategy and Pay Policy”.

An independent assessment this year had recommended a 4 per cent increase for senior management.

The recommended increase, which would cost the council £136,000, follows a best value report (BVI)by Government appointed commissioners which showed a string of bad investments was made possible by a “dereliction in political and managerial leadership” and “serious weaknesses in internal control”,

The council is currently struggling with £1.3billion debt.

Speaking at the committee meeting on Tuesday, Luke Spillman, Conservative councillor for Ockendon, said: “Given the stark conclusions in the BVI that make it clear that it wasn’t just about finance, it was about every single major project we’d taken on. Given the issue with the bins over the last year, which is a basic function of any local authority – and I’ve been asked for my input into councillor allowances and I don’t need to go into that meeting because it is a simple answer is 0 per cent – I find it very hard to think that any senior manager or councillor who can make a strong, coherent argument for a pay increase in this authority.

“We’re not talking about a cohort of people that are struggling with the cost of living here are we? Every penny that we don’t spend on senior management pay is a penny that we don’t have to cut from services. Or we can increase the wages of staff who truly had no influence on the failings in the BVI.”

John Kent, leader of the Labour Group said there should be no increase. He said: “As much as I hate to think of anyone, with inflation running at eight to ten per cent, getting no pay increase at all, I do worry about the wider signal it sends if we agree to any increase.”

However, Graham Snell, Conservative councillor for Corringham and Fobbing, supported a 3 per cent increase. He said:  “I can see the message that it sends to the wider body in Thurrock that we’re rewarding failure with any sort of a pay rise but we are in special circumstances and from my experience, the senior offices that are here now are working all the hours and putting in a huge amount of work to try to drag this authority around and try and put it back into a fit position to go into the future and become a successful authority.

“I think the risk of not giving a reasonable increase is that we demotivate the staff that are already here and it negates our ability to employ other staff that want to come into the authority, that we might well need, good people to come in and help us with that recovery.  “

The committee’s recommendation will be taken into consideration by full council in July.

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