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Clark: Give district chiefs a chance

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Upper-tier councils need to be less risk averse and recruit more chief executives from districts, the head of the senior officers’ society has said.

David Clark, director-general of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Officers (Solace), said councils needed to recruit more widely to avoid spiralling salary levels.

He was giving evidence to the parliamentary public administration select committee’s investigation into public sector executive pay.

Mr Clark told MPs: “When they [councils] lose a chief executive they will say ‘we only want someone who’s been a chief executive of a county council before and it has to be excellent rated,” he said. “Well that’s nine people nationwide and you are obviously going to get spiralling wages.

“If councils realised there is talent out there in districts and were prepared to take a risk it wouldn’t have that impact.”

Mr Clark was giving evidence alongside Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, Ben Farrugia, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, and Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics.

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