Babergh's senior council officers set for large pay increases

By Derek Davis

14th Sep 2021 | Local News

Babergh chief executive (left) at full council meeting, among senior officers in line for pay rise
Babergh chief executive (left) at full council meeting, among senior officers in line for pay rise

An independent review has recommended that Babergh and neighbouring Mid Suffolk district council, increase senior officer pay to attract the best candidates for vacant roles and to keep salaries competitive with others in the region.

The East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) carried out the review following a failed attempt to recruit permanently to an important new role, shared with Suffolk's Clinical Commissioning Groups, to improve the wellbeing of local residents, and ahead of the retirement of the councils' chief finance officer in early 2022. The councils' senior officer pay has not been reviewed since 2011.

EELGA assessed pay for similar roles in other local authorities and the additional complexities in Babergh and Mid Suffolk which come from having a single set of staff serving two sovereign councils.

The independent review said: "The current recruitment market is incredibly competitive, given the changes in working practices during Covid, hybrid and agile working means that staff can now choose to work almost anywhere and in any industry, and this presents both opportunities and threats.

"There is the ability to recruit from across wider industry and geographical areas, but also the ability for existing staff to consider roles in other places too, without having to relocate.

"The two councils have a good record of recruiting staff when the salaries offered have been competitive and have been less successful when the salaries offered fall short of the market expectations. There is no doubt that salary will play a role when competing for top talent, especially within the public sector.

"There is an issue with the current pay and grading structure within the senior team."

A report detailing the recommendations has been published on the council's website and will be presented to councillors next week when they will be asked to decide on the recommendation.

If approved by councillors, it will be the latest in a series of changes to the way the councils are run in the past four years, including removing the deputy chief executive and one strategic director roles, directly aligning all assistant directors to the councils' priorities and reducing the number of corporate managers by six.

The meeting will be available for people to view live on the councils' YouTube channel, or attend in person subject to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

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