Lewisham senior salary figures published


The BBC has compiled a list of salaries over £100,000 in the public sector, which includes local authorities.


New research conducted for BBC Panorama found that there were more than 38,000 public employees earning above £100,000 and 1,000 people on more than £200,000…

Across the UK, the NHS has the highest number of high earners, with more than 26,000 people on more than £100,000. Of those, nearly 6,500 earn more than Mr Cameron. The top NHS earner is a GP on at least £475,000 and seven out of the top 10 in the NHS are GPs.

The database, compiled from both public records and freedom of information requests, excludes some major publicly owned corporations, including Royal Mail, Network Rail and Channel 4 because they operate largely as commercial concerns.

Given the size and complexity of many public organisations and the specialist expertise required to deliver huge infrastructure projects or treat cancer, Brockley Central believes high salaries in the public sector are entirely appropriate in many cases.

There’s no such thing as the morally “right” salary, there is only what the market determines you should be paid – the question then becomes whether proper market mechanisms exist to determine executive pay – a problem in both the private and public sectors.

For local authorities at least, there are a large number of roughly comparable organisations against which we can benchmark our Council. In comparison to many of its London peers, Lewisham is pretty restrained.

Lewisham has 14 employees who earn more than £100,000. This compares with 24 and 21 for neighbouring Greenwich and Southwark respectively. Top of the list with 36 is Tory stronghold Wandsworth. Among the most parsimonious are Merton with 9 and the City of London with 7.

46 people at Lewisham PCT and one person at Lewisham Homes earn more than £100,000.

The figures are available here. Thanks again to reader Bill, for sending the link.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Still 14 too many.

Howson Road said...

There should be a salary cap? Maybe then bonuses could be paid upon OUTSTANDING TARGET SMASHING?! I dunno...

Anonymous said...

Yes, what we need is a cap so that the public sector can be useless at the top, as well as the bottom.

Paddyom said...

I dont understand how someone who is say, treating cancer, in one part of the country can earn so much more than someone doing the same job somewhere else. I dont have a problem with the top people in the public sector being paid well, their job in many cases requires 100% of their time and involves highly pressurized decision making etc.... such as in defence, police, medical etc... just because its public sector doesnt mean they shouldnt be adequately reimbursed for that level of responsibility or for giving up their private lives for a few years to focus on jobs most people couldnt and wouldnt do.

Anonymous said...

I think it is the combination of salary (in general higher than equivalent jobs in the private sector), job security (at middle to high levels you are re-deployed or moved sideways even when the job you are doing becomes redundant) and the hitherto gold-plated pension that sticks in the craw.

Anecdotally people in the middle ranges do not work to full efficiency and certainly whenever you try to contact someone they seem to be on annual leave!

Monkeyboy said...

"in general higher than equivalent jobs in the private sector" really? I'm sure there are some examples, as there are examples of private sector paying more. If you employ specialists to deal with contracts that you let with big private companies, you need the skills. Skills cost.

And the comparision with the PMs pay is just patronising. The focus on the public sector needs to done carefully, after all think about it for a nanosecond. We pay the salery of everyone we deal with. We pay the bonus for the city trader who is investing our money for our pension, we pay for his christmas party and porche except we don't have a right to examine their pay and demand action.

I think sweden (??) publishes tax returns for every bugger so you can look up how mutch your neighbour earns... Could be talking balls but can you imagine the consternation!

Brockley Nick said...

Re: "the Swedish model" - it would certainly make BC debates interesting...

Monkeyboy said...

It's Norway.... can you imagine it! I of course am earning the salary of a church mouse...with MUCH CHEESE AND A FINAL BIG BIT OF CHEESE ON RETIRING!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/not_in_website/syndication/monitoring/media_reports/2321301.stm

Tamsin said...

So cheese, not peanuts, Monkeyboy?

Mung Bean Counter said...

Such a system might reveal Hugh's impending bankruptcy!

Westsider said...

There are one or two self-appointed loadsamoneys on here and every time someone says something vaguely left-wing, they say that they must be poor and envious of the wealthy. It would be nice to burst that little bubble.

Anonymous said...

That Scandanavian model of transparency in public office sounds good.

We set a great of store by privacy and confidentiality in this country. Things get marked 'top secret' by default.

Why should the BBC have to dig? These salaries should be published as a matter of routine.

It might make elections a bit more interesting.

Mb said...

Not just public office. Everyone.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, if you're going to insist on that level of detail, not right to single out the public sector.

Simon said...

Are you sure of your facts, Nick?
We learned some time back that Lewisham had the clever habit of employing former full time local government staff under a private contract.
In the case of the Head of Regeneration, Malcolm Smith, it amounted to over £200K paid to his private company, which he co-owned with his wife. (All verified, and reported on in the past.)

mb said...

Thats what happens in Norway apparently

lb said...

"I think it is the combination of salary (in general higher than equivalent jobs in the private sector)"

Completely wrong - it is in fact lower, in the public sector, for all but the most menial jobs. The average is slightly higher, but this figure (the one always quoted by the Mail, Sun etc) is mainly because the puiblic sector long since contracted out all of its basic services, leaving it with a bias towards professional grades.


"the hitherto gold-plated pension that sticks in the craw"

Public sector pensions are in no way "gold-plated". Final salary schemes were the norm across the board until just a few years ago (when they collapsed for a variety of reasons, though not just because the treasury "pensions raid" that the companies in question have tried to make out is the sole reason). Given the amount of public sector people who take career breaks, etc, very few draw their full pension in any case.

Lastly, civil servants and the like have repeatedly had their final-salary pensions waved in their faces for the past few years every time their generally poor levels of pay, in comparison to private sector equivalents, have been raised. Now it appears they haven't even the rights to that.

"Anecdotally people in the middle ranges do not work to full efficiency"

"Anecdotally" says it all, I'm afraid. I've been in many public and private sector offices in my time and believe me, you get the same levels of incompetence everywhere. The only difference is that private sector workers are, in general, slightly easier to fire - unless they get a good lawyer.

Simon:

"We learned some time back that Lewisham had the clever habit of employing former full time local government staff under a private contract"

Read your post again and note the key words "private contract" here. Then extrapolate the obvious conclusion that it's the private sector that's geting rhe money here - the fact that the people in question might once have worked in the public sector isn't really relevant.

Mb said...

And of course re-employing retired or previously redundant employees as agency at a high rate happens everywhere. Perhaps they were not as "redundant" as the bean counters thought

paddyom said...

Regardless of whether you work in the public or the private sector, the tax system goes against people who take on additional responsibility and work harder. Take on a second job or do as much overtime as you can and then earn over £40k pa (roughly) and you lose 51% of every pound you take home in tax. Assuming you have a private pension to fund then you probably lose 60% of every pound before you see a penny. And virtually everything you buy with your remaining 40p has tax on it anyway so I am sure many people must get to a 'why bother' point. I am all for paying tax to help run the country and help the less well off, but dont think it should hinder the incentive to take on more work. I dont know whats the solution though so i guess this is just a rant ;)

Mb said...

Hands up anyone here who has refused taking on work that may involve more responsibility and sometimes pay because they enter a higher tax bracket. I suspect that's not widespread, the graduates I see are champing at the bit to take on more even though they get more grief. More pay is more pay even with more tax and people tend to want to use their skils - in my experience anyway.

Mb said...

Hands up anyone here who has refused taking on work that may involve more responsibility and sometimes pay because they enter a higher tax bracket. I suspect that's not widespread, the graduates I see are champing at the bit to take on more even though they get more grief. More pay is more pay even with more tax and people tend to want to use their skils - in my experience anyway.

Pippi Longstocking said...

I agree, Mb. Salary is important but I can't imagine a widespread incidence of people choosing to turn down more responsibility for more pay because of marginal tax rates.

Unless you have no ambition to progress further in your career, I'd have thought that for most higher rate tax payers salary is just one of a number of factors you think about when considering a new job or role - and one that is possibly less important than, say, longer term career progression, opportunities to travel (or to stop travelling!), the chance to learn new skills, get extra experience for the CV, work with interesting people etc.

Yes it's fairly painful to lose half of each extra £1 you earn, but you do have to be earning significantly more than average - and at least we no longer have a top rate of 98%...

PS I'm sure someone in Sweden told me they have full disclosure of salaries there, so maybe it happens in both Sweden and Norway.

Monkeyboy said...

Can I just clarify, I'm a lazy bugger.

Paddyom said...

MB, i reckon there must be people on the cuspe of the upper tax band who would think twice tbh. Someone who earns £150k+ pays 61% in tax (PAYE and NI) before they see a penny, which probably drops to 30p in the £1 after pension contribs. Anyone on that kinda dosh should be laughing anyway, but I just think it sounds bonkers, only getting 30% of every pound you earn. Can you reach a point of over taxation and is it a legitimate complaint? I have seen people complain about tax levels before on blogs like this and be accused of being greedy and selfish but if you earn it should you not enjoy it more than to the tune of 39%? Just wondering others opinions on it ebfore I get acosted...

BrockleyGeorge said...

Hate to burst your bubble Paddyom - but NI drops off at above 844/week to 1% in the pound
(http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/nic.htm). So on 150k, you'll only by 51% for your marginal pound.

Completely agree with general point though, that high earners are disincentivised from working. Also a problem for the poor actually - some people who are on benefits see incredibly high tax rates of 80-90% as their benefits are withdrawn as they get richer. Economists (like me) are at a bit of a loss to know what to do about it

Simon said...

Ib, read you own post, perhaps then you can extrapolate the possibilty that moving a local government position into the private sector is nothing more than a golden-handshake-job-for-a-boyo. (Aren't these positions supposed to be offered for tender anyway?)

Mb said...

Odd isn't it, people want the public sector to be more like the private sector but baulk at short contracts and consultants. I would argue that the public sector can be hamstrung by convoluted procurement rules because of a well meaning but overzealous guidelines.

Name said...

I think these jobs should be made to be job share so as to spread the wealth and opportunities. The best jobs are too concentrated in the hands of the few.
Recent news revealed plans of London Boroughs Camden and Islington to share a CEO, in the shape of Moira Gibb, ostensibly to save money, but she'll have a lot of power and a lot pay, personally I have concerns at this sort of trend, for the reason cited.

Anonymous said...

That is one of the more stupid ideas I've ever heard, not as daft as the chocolate teapot but close.

Name said...

A great reply, so constructive and witty

Anonymous said...

I job share, only constructive on Monday and Thursdays. Wouldn't want to concentrate the power in one place

George said...

@ Mb - you miss the point. The problem with the public sector contracting consultants is that the public sector does not have commercial incentives for cost reduction. Hence the "jobs for the boys" environment.

"Name" has a point, although his solution is somewhat radical...

Monkeyboy said...

George, I'm sat in a meeting where we are discussing thameslink with the private contractors building it. They employ "consultants" who are lu people that we let go a while back. There is a limited pool of expertise, jobs for the boys? Well yes the same faces tend to crop up, if they have the skills. Of course now costain are passing the cost on to us through their fees. I've worked both sides of the fence, both are capable of poor cost control. Metronet anyone?

The Pot & Kettle said...

See, sat in a meeting yet browsing the internet and posting on blogs. Do some work MB :)

lb said...

"Ib, read you own post, perhaps then you can extrapolate the possibilty that moving a local government position into the private sector is nothing more than a golden-handshake-job-for-a-boyo"

It's part of a deliberate policy which has taken place since the early 1980s and was pioneered by people such as our current 'communities' secretary Eric Pickles, Dame Shirley Porter, et al. You transfer contract work to the private sector.

I fail to see how the fact that a former public sector worker, now in the private sector, can charge a large amount (at private sector rates) for doing essentially the same work disproves Nick's argument that public sector worker's aren't especially overpaid - this was, if you recall, the point you made above. The whole point about these consultants and contract managers is that they're now in the private sector. If you can explain the logic of your observation, which I must say escapes me at the moment, please do.

I'd also mention that one reason contracts often go to ex-public sector people is, quite simply, the fact that they're the only people who know how to do the job. It may surprise you, but some public sector skills are fairly specialist (see, for example, the handsome salaries which developers and architects will pay former LA planning officers) and the experience would otherwise be lost. Private companies are often all too glad to hire people with knowledge of things like the byzantine complexity of public sector procurement.

Personally I'd say keep services in the public sector when possible, but make it easier for them to fire poorly-performing staff and possible for them to pay high-performing staff well. The main problem with the public sector in management terms is that both carrot and stick have been thrown away, as performance data can have little effect on someone's job. Oh, and make sure the public sector has some decent lawyers to draw up its PPP contracts - poor attention to detail means that they get shafted every time.

Mb said...

What can i say, It was dull.....

Anonymous said...

You'll be striking next

Anonymous said...

what has this got to do with dogging?

Anonymous said...

Who mentioned dogging?

drakefell debaser said...

Over the past year, BC seems to have developed an offshoot of Godwins Law. Perhaps we can call it Dogwins Law.

Name said...

Job sharing isn't radical in itself but as way to address the work-life imbalance that people and particularly feel women increasingly feel, you are likely to see a lot more of it and especially for higher status jobs.

With the tsunami of cuts (and no coherent plans of growth) that we're on the brink of, there's likely to be a lot of unemployment in this country the social effects of which will be dramatic.

So called "stupid ideas" are going to be seen in a new light.

George said...

MonkeyBoy,

You are describing to me a situation where a private company takes on public sector workers, for consulting work - which is entirely up to them of course and hurts nothing but their profits (assuming the market for tube/train construction work is competitive).

That says nothing about the public sector re-hiring their own staff as consultants. In such situations it is right to be suspicious as it is not clear that public sector workers have any incentives for cost minimisation, whatsoever. At least a wildly inefficient firm goes bankrupt.

Fact is, in the last 13 years public sector workers have grown unsustainably and public sector pensions have not experienced the same reforms that private sector pensions have. The core of this debate is "are public sector workers overpaid?" Of course they are. We are emerging from the deepest recession since before the war and all of the hit has been taken by the private sector. It will take another five years at least for public sector wages to get back in kilter.

Mb said...

Some are overpaid. Your assertion is as helpful as saying that all fund managers are overpaid, some are.

Anonymous said...

Name, job sharing and flexible working is used in the public sector. Your earlier comment seemed to be driven by an idea that somehow it's wrong thAt anyone in the public sector should earn 100k. That's daft.

max said...

It's not daft, I for once quite agree with Name, not on the job share bit, but on the level of remuneration, and not on the absolute number of say £100k or £200k, my they all be paid well, the problem is the multiplier, the difference between the lowest paid and the highest paid and the general low level of pay of basically anyone not in managerial role, including teachers, nurses, policemen...
The public sector recognizes value in their management and the wages are nothing to complain about, but the rest of the workforce gets a completely different treatment.
That's the problem, and it's a key reason behind the level of debt, the unaffordability of housing etcetera.

Personally I'd be in favour of a statutory maximum multiplier for the public sector, so when a chief executive wants to raise his wages he first has to raise those of everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I don't think name would see pay being increased for the low grades as a solution. What's the spread in the virtuous private sector?

The public/private spat is a distraction. Good/bad organisations are the point.

max said...

Not quite, private organisations generally exist for the purpose of making money, and therefore the idea that if you made more money for the company you deserve more for yourself follows a clear logic.
The public sector exists for the purpose of providing services to society so the above mentioned reasoning doesn't really work there.

Anonymous said...

If the public sector are competing for the same skills they need to offer a package that can compete. Do you think accountants, lawyers, engineers, project managers join or stay in the private sector for altruistic reasons?

Anonymous said...

Stay in the public sector I mean..... But you know what I mean. People are people, they work primarily for themselves

max said...

Of course one doesn't become an accountant for altruistic reasons, and if they really feel they want to get all they're worth in gold then they join the private sector and they make their way there.

But life's not all about making money for the man. Not for everyone at least.
Without being necessarily altruistic there is a personal non monetary reward in doing something of public utility, and it is also the case that public sector jobs are safer.

Anyway, I'm not saying to pay people less for the sake of it, what I'm saying is that a comprehensive policy on wages for the public sector could consider that the top earners' wages should not exceed a determined multiple of the lowest wages.
The minimum wage is ok to safeguard workers' right in the private sector because who can dictate that a CEO of a bank shouldn't earn a thousand times what a cleaner in his company earns, but in the public sector, where the outcome is not strictly measured in money a maximum multiple could deliver some of those outcomes that a public sector should aim for, i.e. a well paid workforce across the board, not just at the top tier level.

Tamsin said...

Agree with lb that things are just too complicated for efficiency and the public sector gets done over time and again when it comes to procurement contracts.

Farmed out consultants at the upper levels can charge over the odds. The problem is with the workers at the lower levels, cleaning and social care etc. and where the NHS is fragmenting around us. Non-unionised, badly paid and de-motivated they are not delivering the service and accountability is only through a chain of often badly drawn contracts.

The answer has to be keep public sector work pubic but restore the stick and the carrot.

Anonymous said...

We seem to have gone in a circle max. Do you agree that to attract professional staff to the public sector you need to pay the going rate? A simple question. If the going rate for a particular job, say a project manager running a job worth 100m or a consultant surgeon is 100k you have to pay it. To say sorry, you should be working purely for the feel good factor is not a credible reason.

lb said...

"That says nothing about the public sector re-hiring their own staff as consultants. In such situations it is right to be suspicious as it is not clear that public sector workers have any incentives for cost minimisation, whatsoever"

Yes, but George, an external consultant is still a private sector worker. He just happens to be doing project work for the public sector and may have previously been working for it, but is now charging private sector rates and (supposedly) bringing the benefits of private sector dynamism to the project he's working on (plus it's a given that any procurement project will have to demonstrate clear cost benefits to the public sector body involved).

I'm sorry, but I don't buy this argument that because some private consultants do highly-paid work for the public sector, it means that public sector staff are somewhow being paid too much. They're essentially two separate issues.

"Fact is, in the last 13 years public sector workers have grown unsustainably and public sector pensions have not experienced the same reforms that private sector pensions have"

Ah, that lovely word "fact" again. Do you know that the majority of the increase in public sector staff under the last government was in frontline nursing and teaching staff? If it's about keeping a population healthy and well-educated doesn't that bring its own benefits in terms of sustainability?

What, also, would you say to the argument that the wages the government pays to an employee will eventually return to it in the form of tax? Public sector workers do not, in a macroeconomic sense, represent a drain on the government's finances.

As for private sector pensions, you can barely call the shameful collapse in defined benefit schemes since the 1990s a "reform". A "swindle" might be more accurate.

Max:

"The public sector recognizes value in their management and the wages are nothing to complain about, but the rest of the workforce gets a completely different treatment"

Surveys indicate that it's the low-grade staff in the public sector who are paid better than their private sector equivalents: professional or managerial staff are generally paid less than in the private sector. Isn't this how it should be? Any issues are, as I've said above, more to do with staff quality, incentives, penalties and the like rather than the pay structure.

lb said...

Incidentally, this may be the future. And it's frankly a terrifying prospect, looking at previous cases where the private sector has been handed services to run (the railways, utilities, etc).

max said...

Lb, thanks for the info on comparisons between public and private sector.
Just a couple of considerations.
First consideration is that the fact that the lowest paid jobs are better paid in the public sector may come from the fact that they follow the law and tend to set a standard whilst many private companies are quite exploitative often to the point of illegality.
The other consideration, which is consistent with what you say about professionals being paid less in the public than the private, is that indeed many people with mid ranking jobs do not earn enough to be able to afford to buy a house.
I really think that if salaries are kept as low then people need access to social provision, including housing, otherwise pay them all well enough to be able to afford it.
I always found rather remarkable that we had to resort to shared equity schemes to allow people with jobs to buy a house because their wages don't stretch.
I have wandered out of the discussion a bit, but what I'm saying is that the private sector can afford to pay more because they're in the business of making money, the public sector isn't, so the remuneration package can't just be based on a comparison with the private sector but of course to a degree it will always do.

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