Reality bites

January 20, 2010 2:56 PM

Finally, it seems that many Councils and other public bodies are starting to listen. Today’s Times reports that many top level public sector roles will have their pay levels cut back; this is recognition that executive remuneration had lost touch with reality, and not just in the context of the financial crisis.

After we found that 324 people in the public sector were paid more than the Prime Minister, it was announced that any job wanting to pay more than this would have to have it approved by the Treasury. Today, Tony Travers of the London School of Economics adds:

"This is a clear sign of the times...It will be very hard for the public sector to make new appointments which are above the level of the Prime Minister’s salary"

The Audit Commission and Kent County Council are also advertising lower salaries for their recently vacated top posts. This wind of change needs to blow through the entire public sector. We have seen massive pay hikes out of step with both staff on the frontline and economic conditions, and big rewards for failure have been par for the course. There is now universal agreeement that this is not acceptable.

Transparency is the catalyst that will drive this change. It's obviously an important aim in a broader sense, and will help to deliver fair salaries and breed restraint in this case. Politicians and public sector executives finally seem to be aware of the public’s anger about these pay packages so today's news is an encouraging first step. We will continue our campaign to ensure that it's not the final step.

Finally, it seems that many Councils and other public bodies are starting to listen. Today’s Times reports that many top level public sector roles will have their pay levels cut back; this is recognition that executive remuneration had lost touch with reality, and not just in the context of the financial crisis.

After we found that 324 people in the public sector were paid more than the Prime Minister, it was announced that any job wanting to pay more than this would have to have it approved by the Treasury. Today, Tony Travers of the London School of Economics adds:

"This is a clear sign of the times...It will be very hard for the public sector to make new appointments which are above the level of the Prime Minister’s salary"

The Audit Commission and Kent County Council are also advertising lower salaries for their recently vacated top posts. This wind of change needs to blow through the entire public sector. We have seen massive pay hikes out of step with both staff on the frontline and economic conditions, and big rewards for failure have been par for the course. There is now universal agreeement that this is not acceptable.

Transparency is the catalyst that will drive this change. It's obviously an important aim in a broader sense, and will help to deliver fair salaries and breed restraint in this case. Politicians and public sector executives finally seem to be aware of the public’s anger about these pay packages so today's news is an encouraging first step. We will continue our campaign to ensure that it's not the final step.

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