At a meeting of the chief executives' joint negotiating committee last week, a pay increase of 3% was agreed for 1999-2000, in line with the national settlement for chief officers and other staff.
But those councils still to complete salary reviews, which were a condition of the 1997-98 pay deal, will now receive individual attention in a bid to pressure them into reaching settlements.
Local reviews, which involve assessing chief executive pay and conditions against new benchmark salary points and local factors, were supposed to be completed by April 1998. But by June last year, 40% were still not done (LGC, 12 June 1998). The Association of Local Authority Chief Executives declined to name the councils to protect their members' interests.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which brokered the 1997-98 deal, could be called in to help with difficult cases.
ALACE chairman Alastair Robertson said the preferred route was to resolve problems without calling in ACAS but he added: 'There comes a point at which you can't have the general kudos of being part of a national system and at the same time simply turn your face on things because they don't suit.'
Some chief executives in the laggard councils would be in difficult, frustrating positions, he said. No timetable had been set but there was a joint desire to get the issue wrapped up as soon as possible, Mr Roberston added.