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Agenda item

Chief Executive pay and conditions and performance management (report)

For Committee decision.


The Committee received a report from the Service Director, Human Resources and Workplace, and considered the public forum statement by Steve Paines, Unite in conjunction with this item. The report set out recommendations in relation to pay and conditions and performance management and proposed ideas for debate around how alternative contractual relationships might look. The Committee is asked to recommend to Full Council the proposed constitutional changes.


Members engaged in a detailed discussion which explored the contractual elements that could be incorporated into terms and conditions and performance management in order to limit the Council’s liability whilst safeguarding the individual’s employment rights in the event of early termination of the contract.


In discussion the following points were made:


  1. Changes to Chief Executive pay and conditions should fit within national Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) guidelines


  1. A fixed term contract may make it more difficult for the Council to attract applicants at this level


  1. Other considerations could include a permanent contract with formalised performance management arrangements.  There were currently no formal arrangements for performance management in place. The formalised arrangements proposed in the report are not  dissimilar to that which applies to headteachers in schools. 


  1. Expert advice had been sought in consideration of appropriate contractual terms around fixed term contracts. The nature of the term could be fixed to the end of 2020 to overlap with the mayoral and local elections and the transition to a new mayoral administration term to provide continuity through that period. Advantages of a fixed term contract could provide the opportunity to recruit to the skills required at that point.


  1. A fixed term contract does not rule out the facility to terminate the contract by mutual agreement. If a fixed term contract was extended, this would be tantamount to creation of a permanent contract in law, unless the Council were able to prove an Objective Justification.


  1. As one of the “protected officers”, dismissal of the Head of Paid Service must follow the procedure set out in the Council’s Constitution, which involves the Independent Person process.


  1. The criteria that would trigger a 10% bonus were not clear. In a climate of job and budget cuts performance bonuses for this post may not seem appropriate. Subject to proper performance management arrangements, a bonus could incentivise the postholder to remain. The trigger of any bonus should be tight criteria and targets and be assessed by an independent panel.  ALACE and SOLACE are potential sources of advice.


  1. The 1:10 salary ratio was a long-term commitment, but there was no plan at this stage to automatically up-rate the starting salary in line with the Living Wage Foundation Living Wage. Concern was expressed that this ratio could limit the Council’s ability to be competitive and attract the calibre of candidate desired for the role.


  1. Officers to confirm the fees payable for the Counting/Returning Officer roles and advise the Committee of options for alternative distribution arrangements. Action: Richard Billingham


  1. New government regulations which stipulate a £95k cap on exit payments would limit the amounts payable in the event of early termination.


  1. Of major concern was how to enable good performance in the role. An option for this could be the politically-balanced performance management panel as outlined in the report. Officers to explore performance management options. Action: Richard Billingham



The Committee RESOLVED:

                       (i)         To agree in principal a fixed term contract for the Chief Executive post. Officers to provide more detailed proposals around performance management, contractual terms, returning officers disbursements and early termination.

                      (ii)        To note the report and actions arising.


Supporting documents: