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Haringey children’s boss among council staff paid more than PM

PUBLISHED: 17:37 27 September 2010 | UPDATED: 18:50 27 September 2010

New figures reveal that council employees are being paid six-figure sums

THE man responsible for children’s services at Haringey Council is earning £50,000 more than the Prime Minister – one of five employees at the authority taking home more than the country’s top politician.

Figures unveiled this week show 18 members of staff at the council earn more than £100,000 a year, with five of them taking home more than David Cameron’s £142,500 pay packet.

Th council has denied that the 18 people on the list, only eight of whose job titles are mentioned, are paid more than £100,00 despite the figures being compiled from public records and Freedom of Information requests.

A spokesman could not confirm how the council knew the unnamed posts were not earning salaries more than £100,000 but said: “Looking at the jobs mentioned, there are eight posts commanding a salary of more than £100,000, four of which are over £140,000.”

An additional £792,000 is paid out to seven unnamed members of education staff in Haringey’s schools, who all earn above £100,000, according to the figures.

The data comes just a week after the Haringey Alliance for Public Services protested outside the Town Hall against £60million of budget cuts due to be made by the council during the next four years.

They promised strikes and protests if public sector jobs are affected. Speaking about the salaries, HAPS representative Jane Laporte said: “It’s obscene that a government made up of mainly millionaires is telling councils run by overpaid executives to slash vital public services and lay off underpaid, hard-working frontline staff. Council executives should oppose rather than implement cuts or else donate their excessive wages to the campaign effort.”

According to BBC statistics, children and young person’s chief Peter Lewis is the authority’s top earner on £230,000 a year – a wage which makes him the sixth highest-paid local government employee in the UK.

Haringey’s former chief executive Ita O’Donovan is listed as earning more than £167,000 in 2009/10, while the director of urban environment was paid nearly £145,000.

The statistics also reveal that two other members of staff taking home £147,499 are unnamed by the local authority, which the council denied. In total, last year the 18 highest paid staff – only eight of whom are named – cost the council £2,372,122.

Local resident Lesley Ramm said she was “stunned” by the money paid to Mr Lewis.

She said: “I’m not sure there’s a direct correlation between the amount paid and the quality of the service. Perhaps they would do better to spread their success further down the pecking order and get some decent social workers in – I was stunned at the amount being paid to one person.”

Opposition leader Robert Gorrie said though some of the wages were justified, others were down to poor management of resources by the Labour-led council.

He said: “The key point is that the responsibility is with the Labour administration to make sure high paid staff perform for residents and provide value for money.

“Peter Lewis is a special case brought in to lead the turnaround of a service that Labour had frankly let completely disintegrate. The evidence seems to be that the service has substantially improved.”

The council spokesman added: “Haringey Council pays average salaries (compared with all other London councils). These are considered by a council remuneration committee, advised by an independent expert, on an annual basis.

“All jobs in the council are rigorously evaluated under a job evaluation scheme and grades set appropriately. In fact a salary freeze has been in place for senior officers of the type mentioned since last year.

“In the case of Peter Lewis, he was appointed to Haringey in very special circumstances requiring a contract that recognised the timescale for transforming children’s services and due consideration of the need to attract the right calibre of candidate. The contract was agreed between LBH, the DCSF and Peter himself. Peter voluntarily chose not to take his performance bonus this year so his salary is £200,000, not £230,000.”


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