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The debate on top officer pay is steaming away and we must avoid missing the wood for the trees. ...
The debate on top officer pay is steaming away and we must avoid missing the wood for the trees.

The arguments for action seem to stem from a government suggestion that people are paid too much.

If that is the case, let us have the debate at a national level. First, can we establish the real business reasons for change? Chief executives' combined salaries are a minuscule proportion of the overall local government pay bill, so the motivation is not to save money.

Is there a groundswell of public opinion against top pay? I have not picked up anything from the Society of Personnel Officers' members that this is an issue in their community.

Does the process used to set salaries lack transparency? We should not leave chief officers to make up their own salaries, but that is unlikely to be the case. However we need to guard against unwieldy and costly bureaucratic processes.

It is a shame that remuneration is becoming tinged with resentment rather than reward. SOCPO will continue to urge for proper discussion and an appropriate way forward that addresses the business arguments of public accountability.

Alan Warner

President, Society of Personnel Officers

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