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Essex County Council has the most highly-paid staff in the UK

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 April 2019

Essex County Council has more staff earning more than £100,000 than any other local authority. Picture: ARCHANT

Essex County Council has more staff earning more than £100,000 than any other local authority. Picture: ARCHANT

Essex County Council pays more of it staff more than £100,000 a year than any other local authority in the UK according to new figures from the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

During the financial year 2017/18 the Chelmsford-based authority had 53 staff who earned more than £100,000. That compares with 11 at Suffolk County Council.

The highest paid member of staff was chief executive Gavin Jones with a salary of £195,000. His expenses and pension payments took his total cost to the council up to £237,000.

Other high earners at Essex that year included Nicola Beach who earned £122,000 as director of infrastructure and environment. Last May she moved to Suffolk County Council as chief executive at £170,000 a year – which is not included in this year’s figures.

The highest earning person at Suffolk is not named – chief executive Deborah Cadman moved on during the year so her total figure was lower than in previous years.

Sue Cook, who acted as interim between Ms Cadman’s departure and Ms Beach’s arrival is not mentioned by name in the figures released by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Jeanette Bray, Interim Head of HR, Performance and Change, at Suffolk County Council, said: “We want Suffolk to be a place where children and families can flourish, people can grow older in good health and businesses can thrive. In order to make this a reality we need first-rate people leading our public services.

“That is why we look at local government pay across the whole country and the scale of the challenges here in Suffolk to find the right balance. We continue to review our staffing costs on an ongoing basis to ensure we are achieving value for money.”

An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: “In 2017/18, Essex County Council paid 53 employees over £100k; however, 17 of these employees only exceeded £100k as they were leaving the organisation due to organisation wide redesign and their annual remuneration includes the severance packages they were entitled to.

“Essex County Council is one of the largest local authorities in England and if we are to attract the best people in the country to help us deliver the best outcomes for our residents, we need to offer an appropriate level of salary, that is competitive to the commercial sector.

“All our salaries are subject to regular independent review and measured against the public and not for profit sector.”

District and borough councils have fewer people earning six-figure sums. In Ipswich the only full-time employee who cost more than £100,000 was chief executive Russell Williams – and that threshold was only met once his pension and expenses were included in the total.

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