Suffolk and Essex councils defend £100k payments to attract ‘right people and skills’

Suffolk County Council's former chief executive Deborah Cadman received the authority's most remune

Suffolk County Council's former chief executive Deborah Cadman received the authority's most remuneration in 2016/17. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Essex County Council (ECC)had the third most employees earning six-figure sums out of all UK local authorities, new research has revealed.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance’s latest Town Hall Rich List found 28 employees at the Essex authority received remuneration of at least £100,000 in 2016/17 - the latest year for which figures are available.

The figure is the highest of all councils outside of London – despite being eight fewer than the previous year’s total.

At Suffolk County Council (SCC) , 11 staff earned remuneration of £100,000 or more – with the highest sum going to Deborah Cadman, the former chief executive who received a total of £216,268 including pension contributions.

Both councils have defended the figures, saying it is necessary to attract people with the right skills for the job.

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Essex’s figures included two former staff whose total remuneration included compensation for loss of office. The largest remuneration went to Sonia Davidson-Grant, the outgoing executive director for place commissioning, whose received £303,355 including £133,561 in compensation.

Across all UK councils 2,306 employees received remuneration in excess of £100,000, which is 60 fewer than the previous year.

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The Taxpayers’ Alliance many authorities increased council tax while continuing to spend large amounts on senior management.

ECCsaid it needed to attract the best people in the country to deal with challenges and stay competitive.

A spokesman said the number of staff earning £100,000 had fallen by nearly a quarter since - and all salaries were subject to independent review. “ECC is one of the largest local authorities in England and the largest in the East of England,” the spokesman added. “Over the past seven years, we’ve transformed the council so that we can continue to improve and deliver the services people need and at the same time keep council tax in check.”

An SCC spokesman said: “It is important that the right people with the right skills and experience are retained to deliver the work of the authority. We publish details for such salaries as part of our statement of accounts and our annual pay policy for people to scrutinise. In recent years we have made significant savings, this includes a reduction in senior management costs.”

John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities. The government must also act to implement the exit payment cap that was passed in 2016.”

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