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Councils must be transparent over senior staff pay – Lewis

Local authorities must be transparent over remuneration and pay for council chief executives, the local government minister Brandon Lewis has said.

Speaking in front of the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, Lewis stated that it was “right” for councils to look at the packages they pay senior staff.

The Committee is investigating the remuneration paid to chief officers in local government and how it is determined, this comes after it emerged that Nick Hodgson, the former chief executive of Derbyshire County Council, was given £219,000 as part of his severance package.

Recently Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, blasted the pay-out awarded to Hodgson upon his departure from the council in June 2013.

Lewis told the Committee: “If someone is going to be paid more than the Prime Minister, they need to be consciously aware of what they are doing and if they are doing it for the right reason.

“In any part of the public sector, local authorities are looking at the pay for their senior staff and that they are acutely aware of the size of their budget, the effect on the budget that pay has, that they are getting good value for money for taxpayers, and that it's transparent and clear.

“If they've got a chief executive who’s doing a good job, who deserves a good salary, they should not be afraid about being clear about that.”

He noted that ultimately, the decisions are “down to democracy” and the local public if they have a strong view on the packages should make it known.

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