Under-fire Rotherham council considers £40k bonus to entice new chief in face of ‘negative publicity’

Rotherham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Rotherham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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Scandal-hit Rotherham council’s new chief executive could be paid an extra £40,000 per year as a result of ‘negative publicity’ from the town’s grooming scandal.

The council’s staffing committee has approved plans to potentially increase the salary for the authority’s top officer from its current £160,000 per year by up to 25 per cent to £200,000 with what it describes as a ‘market supplement’.

New senior managers could also receive almost £30,000 extra each on top of their existing salary level of £113,384, taking their salaries over £140,000 per year.

Five government commissioners have been selected to run the council, replacing its previous political leadership, after a report found the authority “not fit for purpose” over its handling of child sexual exploitation in the town.

Sir Derek Myers, Stella Manzie, Malcolm Newsam, Mary Ney and Julie Kenny will head the council until 31 March 2019, though there will still be a chief executive during this time.

They replace the cabinet following the Casey Report’s criticism of its response to child sexual exploitation. Last year the Jay Report found 1,400 children had suffered horrific sexual abuse over 16 years.

The council’s previous chief executive Martin Kimber announced he was to quit after the damning report was released. There is no chief executive currently in post and commissioner Stella Manzie is carrying out the role of Managing Director Commissioner.

In a report to the committee, Phil Howe, director of human resources, said: “Due to the recent negative publicity surrounding the Council, it may be necessary to consider awarding additional financial incentives to attract suitable applicants to senior managerial positions in Rotherham.”

He added that following the departure of a number of senior managers, permanent replacements will soon be recruited.

A spokesman for Rotherham Borough Council said: “Market supplements would only be used at this level if there was a demonstrable need because of the state of the market for that job role at that time.”

The recommendations will be taken forward to a meeting of the authority’s full council on May 22.

Separately, the council was forced to defend itself today after it was revealed it was employing 27 communications workers.

According to trade publication Press Gazette, which sent requests for information to local authorities nationwide, Manchester City Council has the most communications staff, with a total of 77.

Leeds City Council has 47, Bristol City Council and Sheffield City Council both have 43, and Glasgow City Council and Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council employ a total of 40.

Rotherham council said in a statement: “Rotherham Borough Council’s Communications and Marketing Team is made up of four smaller teams – this includes staff who manage the council’s website, officers who organise and manage local events such as the Rotherham Show, graphic designers, marketing staff, and communications and media officers.

“Between them they cover a broad range of activity, and support services across the council, as well as local partnerships. It is not the case that the council has 27 workers whose focus is communications and PR.”