Southend senior management team to cost taxpayers almost £2million a year

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Nineteen senior managers at Southend Council are to receive salaries that on average exceed £100,000, a new report has revealed.

From April 1 the council’s management team will be expanded from 16 staff members to 19 and almost all will be handed a two per cent pay rise.

The council’s top bosses will receive a pay increase of £3,000, with chief executive receiving £159,000, up from £156,000 and the deputy chief executive earning £135,252, up from £132,600.

Meanwhile, strategic directors will be renamed to executive directors and their salaries will go from £104,000 to £106,080.

Directors, which are the lowest paid of the senior management team, will see their salaries go from £90,534 to £92,345.

The only role not to receive a pay increase is the director of public health whose salary is set in line with the NHS and remains at £97,787.

Despite the pay rise, Southend’s pay rates remain low when compared with other council bosses in the county. In Basildon, the chief executive has a salary of £181,103 and in Thurrock it is £175,000.

Details of the salaries have come as the council undertakes a management reshuffle that will see the number of deputy chief executives cut from two to one, the role of strategic director renamed to executive director and the number of positions increased from three to six.

The number of directors will also increase from nine to 10.

All together the senior team will be receiving a combined total of £1,951,969 per year, which is nearly £400,000 more than 2019’s £1,636,793.

Details of the salaries have been outlined in a pay policy report which requires the council to provide a breakdown of how much each of its senior staff members are being paid each year.

It also reveals that the chief executive earns six times more than the average worker who earns £26,317 – up from five times their salary the previous year. The lowest paid employee currently earns £18,065, up from £16,394 the previous year but still £140,935 less than the chief executive’s 2020 salary.

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “As a large unitary authority responsible for hundreds of services, an annual revenue budget of £360 million, and operating in an area that faces many opportunities and challenges, it is critical that an appropriate senior management structure is in place.

“The council recognises that in the context of managing scarce public resources, salaries at all levels needs to be adequate to secure and retain high quality dedicated employees, but at the same time need to avoid being excessive.

“Salaries paid to chief officers allow us to recruit and retain high calibre leaders, but remain very fair in comparison to many other nearby local councils. These are salaries that were frozen for many years and have only risen recently in line with the national pay settlement for all staff.

“We recently increased the pay of our lowest paid staff by 10 per cent and I was proud to announce in September that all our directly employed staff receive a real living wage.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter

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