The pay of top-earning Herefordshire officials will be frozen this year.

Meanwhile, lower-paid workers are set for a rise.

Herefordshire Council’s employment panel this week voted to recommend the measures, which if approved by full council, will mean that five top officials will continue to receive six-figure salaries:

  • Paul Walker, the council’s chief executive, will continue to receive £155,022. Mr Walker was appointed last May, having previously held senior managerial roles with a number of local authorities around the country.
  • Darryl Freeman, corporate director for children and young people, will remain on £130,860. He was confirmed in the position last month following the departure of his predecessor Catherine Knowles.
  • The director of community and wellbeing will also be on £130,860. This is currently held in an acting capacity by Paul Smith, with a full-time appointment expected to be announced shortly.
  • The corporate director for economy and environment, currently held by Neil Taylor on an interim basis, will also be on £130,860. A full-time appointment is also due to be announced shortly.
  • Andrew Lovegrove remains “director of resources and assurance”, previously known as the chief financial officer, on £106,869. He has held the post for nearly five years.

The council does not provide any bonuses or performance-related pay.

This means that the chief executive is paid 8.7 times as much the council’s lowest-paid staff, which council leader David Hitchiner said was “a good outcome for us as a county”.

Employment panel member Coun Ellie Chowns, leader of the Greens within the council’s ruling coalition, called for lowest-paid staff to receive the “living wage” for adults of £9.90 an hour proposed by the Living Wage Foundation, “in perpetuity, as a point of principle”.

Currently the National Living Wage set by the Government is £9.50 an hour, and only applies to those over 23.

Coun Hitchiner said: “We should know the potential cost of this before deciding on it.”

Chief executive Paul Walker replied: “We will bring back information on the implications of this, which depend on how national pay rates are set.”

All pay rates are due to be confirmed at a council budget meeting on February 11.


Meanwhile, a council recommendation will see bonus payments of £500 to all frontline care staff in Herefordshire between now and March.

This is “to promote retention of essential workers during a time of very significant workforce challenges”, a report recommending the payment said.

The care sector in Herefordshire is currently competing with retail and hospitality for staff, it said, and suffers from a turnover rate of 38.4 per cent a year, well above the England average of 30.7 per cent.

A “broad definition of frontline work will be adopted, to include cleaning and catering staff, registered managers and some administrative staff”, while both full- and part-time workers would be eligible for the same £500 payment.

With an estimated 4,500 such workers, the cost is likely to approach £2.3 million, the report said.

The recommendation must now be approved within the next week by cabinet member for health and adult wellbeing Coun Pauline Crockett.