How did we get the data?

We sent requests to public sector bodies under the Freedom of Information act, asking for the following:

  • The number of staff who received remuneration equal to or in excess of £100,000 in 2013-14
  • The names, job titles and remuneration received by staff who received in excess of £150,000
  • Remuneration was defined as including, but not being limited to “salary, fees, allowances, bonuses, benefits in kind, compensation for loss of office and employer pension contributions.”


Many of the responses received did not answer our original, straightforward request. In many case, data was late or incomplete and some of the information sent was contradictory to that published elsewhere. Where there were substantial difficulties, the data was supplemented with that obtained elsewhere – usually in the organisation’s annual report and accounts.

Supplementing with Annual Reports

Supplementing data obtained via FOI with annual report data posed a number of difficulties. We asked for details of total remuneration including any employer’s pension contributions. However these were reported in a variety of manners - if at all - in various annual reports, making consistency challenging.

Where information on precise values of employers’ pension contributions was not available, the percentage rates paid were obtained and were added to the available salary information.

Salary information for those other than the highest paid in each institution was usually provided in bands, e.g. £100,000 - £109,999. In such cases the mid-point of the band was used for all further calculations.

When calculating the total number of staff with total remuneration in excess of £100,000 from the salary band tables accounts, the employers’ pension contribution was added to the lower bound of the band. Only if the lower bound plus the employers’ pension contribution exceeded £100,000 were all members of the band included in the total.

Unless stated otherwise, it was assumed that all employees were members of the organisation’s pension scheme. Not making this assumption would be unfair to the organisations who answered the request fully and accurately.

Local authorities

Staff involved in shared services initiatives across multiple authorities have been listed in a separate table. For the purposes of the table comparing how many employees receiving remuneration in excess of £150,000, they have been listed under the council which formally employs them.

Many local authority accounts include schools staff. They have been excluded wherever possible and noted where there was any uncertainty.


Trusts were divided as to whether the position of Medical Director was a clinical or non-clinical role. Where this information had to be extracted from the accounts, it was assumed that the role was clinical.

Given that NHS bodies’ accounts do not provide employer pension contributions but “pension related benefits”, an actuarial calculation, the standard NHS employer contribution of 14 per cent was added to salaries taken from annual accounts unless it was clear that the individual was not a member of the NHS Pension Scheme. 14 per cent was also added where it was clear the response had not included employer pension contributions.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) share employees across multiple organisations. Wherever there has been any indication that this is the case, it has been noted.

General medical Practitioners and General dental practitioners

A freedom of information request was submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority requesting the number of General Practitioners who declared pensionable pay of £100,000 or more, in bands of £100,000 as well as total earnings.

Total earnings were then divided by the number of General Medical Practitioners or General Dental Practitioners in each band.


All information on Multi-Academy trusts was obtained from accounts rather than through the Freedom of Information Act.

Where there was any uncertainty over whether individuals had been included in local authority responses, they have been removed from this dataset.

Overall numbers for schools include both individual schools and multi-academy trusts.

Higher education

Some universities have general academic staff on the universities’ pension scheme and clinical academic staff on the NHS’s. Of these universities some presented the remuneration of the two groups separately but others did not, making it impossible to determine the level of employers’ pension contribution paid by to each individual. Where this is clearly the case, a lower bound estimate has been taken.

In some cases it has not been possible to determine the level, if any, of double counting involving clinical academic staff who may be employed by both NHS trusts and the university. There are notes in the tables to indicate where this is the case.

Full remuneration details were rarely provided in accounts for those other than the Vice-Chancellor or equivalent. This section more than any other relies on information obtained from salary bands.

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