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Hull Council criticised over £94,000 salaries for three new managers

Hull Council chief executive Matt Jukes
Hull Council chief executive Matt Jukes
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Councillors in a Yorkshire city will be asked to approve three new senior officer posts with £94,000 annual salaries today.

Hull Council, the third most deprived local authority in England, already has 111 officers on over £50,000 or above. Of those, 17 are already on £94,000 or more.

A new pay policy going to full council recommends the approval of additional permanent posts of City Digital Manager, City Economic Development and Regeneration Manager and City Learning and Skills Manager paying £93,666. The extra posts were put forward in restructure proposals by chief executive Matt Jukes.

The council says it needs “senior leadership capacity” in digital services, regeneration and education.

But pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TA) said ratepayers would be “shocked at the huge pay packets” and the leader of the Lib Dem opposition, Coun Mike Ross, said two of the posts raised questions, especially when “finances are being squeezed both for the council and taxpayers across the city”.

According to the TA’s Town Hall Rich List, Hull had the most employees on remuneration in excess of £100,000 in the region in 2016-17.

In a report, city human resources manager Jacqui Blesic said the digital service “is currently within the town clerk’s remit amongst the post-holder’s considerable other duties” and now requires the “capacity of a full-time individual”.

In 2016 a committee resisted the appointment of a permanent City Learning and Skills Manager, because of the numbers of schools becoming academies.

The report acknowledges the “decreasing number of maintained schools” but says following a critical Ofsted and CQC inspection, relating to children with special educational needs and disabilities, a permanent appointment needs to be made.

An interim was in place until September 8.

On the third job it says it is no longer possible for the current director of regeneration “to undertake all roles whilst providing the strategic regeneration support the council requires”.

Coun Ross said he could see the logic for the education post as “we want to see good performing schools and children safe in the city”.

However people “would raise eyebrows” about the creation of senior level posts “when they on the ground won’t necessarily see the delivery and changes that affect them daily”.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering payouts for those leaving their jobs despite a £95,000 cap passed by the last government.

"Of course it’s important to recruit good people to work at local authorities, but many of these pay packets are clearly excessive.”

In a statement, the council said the roles would deliver “senior leadership capacity to effectively deliver our extensive programmes of work within digital services, to continue our considerable success in economic development and regeneration and to work with our schools and young people to drive forward educational improvement”.