Herefordshire Council has said it is lowering the pay difference between its highest and lowest paid staff as it set out its planned pay rates for the coming financial year.

Chief executive Paul Walker will get £157,348, a 1.5 per cent raise.

Two further service directors will get £134,748, a 3 per cent rise, while three other service directors will get £110,397, up 3.3 per cent.

The council’s employment panel approved the settlement today (January 20).

In the current financial year, the ratio between the council’s lowest paid staff and Mr Walker is 1:7.8 – that is, the salary of the highest-paid officer is just under eight times that of the lowest paid.

This figures has dropped from 1:8.7 the previous year – caused, the council says, by the chief executive’s pay award “being proportionately lower than the pay award for all other staff”.


Panel member Coun Ellie Chowns told the meeting: “Our pay ratio between lowest and highest paid is declining and I think that's a positive thing.”

The council will in future pay all staff at least the “real living wage” set by the Living Wage Foundation, its head of human resources Tracey Sampson confirmed.

This was set in September at £10.90, compared with the national living wage of £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over.

This figure is higher than the lowest pay grade listed in the proposed pay settlement, but Ms Sampson said this grade is not in fact used.

“We will pay the real minimum wage at the prevailing rate at the current time,” she said.

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The meeting also heard that the council’s most recently calculated median gender pay gap stood at 13.9 per cent – that is, the mid-range male employee, on £15.32 an hour, earned 13.9 per cent more than his female equivalent, on £13.20 an hour.

The council said this figure is “significant, (but) better than many other organisations and the UK public sector overall”.

The pay recommendation must now be approved by a full meeting of all county councillors on February 10.

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