UNISON have been asking some useful questions about senior officers’ fat cat six-figure salaries down at the Counts Louse.
Possibly overlooked in the frenzy over Tesco at Ashton Gate and Steve Lansdown’s admission that his £60m stadium, as predicted, is actually going to cost someone £90m – a fact still blithely ignored by that lazy sod of a political journalist at the Cancer, Ian Onions – UNISON asked the last cabinet meeting this (pdf):
Q: Business Transformation was anticipated to slim line management for cost savings; therefore how can 3rd tier posts and above have increased along with salaries and how can we, as a trade union in these economic times, endorse an approximate 30% salary increase for the Chief and Deputy Executive and the rest of the workforce only get 2%?
Where are the savings if we, not only lost many 3rd tier and above employees and had to pay out redundancy, but then employ more than we had before on higher wages?
This elicited the following rather evasive response:
A: Reductions in posts as a result of restructuring are largely being implemented in 2009/10, and therefore one would expect this to be reflected in the comparable information in the accounts for this year. Therefore, savings will arise in 2009/10 rather than 2008/09.
The rationale for increasing the salary range of the post of Chief Executive was set out in the report to HR Committee in September 2007, and was the subject of consultation at that time. The salary increase reflecting the enhanced role set out for this post, and reflected independent advice received from the Council’s consultants.
The post of Deputy Chief Executive was a new post created as part of the management restructuring of the Council, the grade and salary of which was set by the HR Committee. Therefore, no previous pay/grading level for this post existed. The salary increase quoted by UNISON is erroneous. The Council’s management restructuring was also the subject of consultation prior to approval of the new structure.
I see. So “savings will arise in 2009/10 rather than 2008/09” will they?
Fair point. But since UNISON are asking questions on a ‘Revenue budget 2009/10 – monitoring report’ and we’re now six months in to that period why aren’t these savings apparent yet? Will they magically appear over the next six months?
Who knows? But it looks like UNISON’s questions have rattled the council’s greedy boss class because a Human Resources Committee Meeting the following week had the following agenda item and report: ‘Review of 1st – 3rd Tier Management Restructure‘ (pdf) hurriedly tacked on the end.
And what gems there are to be found, such as this:
There has been a net reduction of 1 post, discounting the Strategic Director: Transformation which is funded on a fixed term basis from reserves. Four 1st tier officers were displaced. Two have been seconded to organisations/roles for fixed term periods and two have left on the grounds of early retirement due to redundancy.
Read that carefully. So far there’s been no net reduction in posts whatsoever and we learn that of the four officers replaced in the last 18 months two have actually been employed by the council elsewhere on the same salaries, which means that, er … there’s been a net increase of two posts paying top-whack six-figure salaries!
Let’s move on:
There has been a reduction of 5.8 FTE posts. However, as a consequence of the selection process for new roles in the structure, five post holders have left on the grounds of early retirement due to redundancy, and two have left on the grounds of redundancy without pension release. In addition, two staff have been seconded to other roles (one of whom has been seconded to a role outside of the Council). There are also two displaced employees currently occupying interim roles.
Here we go again. “There has been a reduction of 5.8 FTE posts”. Except “two staff have been seconded to other roles” and “two displaced employees currently occupy interim roles”. That’s a reduction of 1.8 posts then.
And so on to the 3rd tier … Where we learn “There has been a reduction of 5.7 FTE posts”. Except there hasn’t of course because “The remaining staff are being considered for redeployment or undertaking project/interim management”. On exactly the same wages, naturally. In fact we’re told “There has been an increase in the pay bill of £254K per annum”!
The document then goes on to show us a load of spreadsheets meant to explain how much of our money will be saved by raising the boss class’s salaries. Alas, it’s of little use in the real world because they forgot to include the seconded staff, the “interim roles” the redeployments and any “project/interim management” roles.
Worth every penny aren’t they?