Pay Quirk Boosts Chief Executive Salary Even Further

Council Chief Executive, Philip Hygate

It has been revealed that our Council’s Chief Executive will receive a further boost to his salary.

In addition to the £4,500 increase in basic pay granted in April, Isles of Scilly Councillors also agreed in that meeting that Philip Hygate will receive a further top-up of almost £2,000 which will be back-dated to April.

Both increases were voted through by a narrow margin of 5 votes to 4 on an evening when attendance was reduced through bad weather.

The increase has come about thanks to a pay quirk involving Scilly’s Chief Fire Officer Steve Webster and has only just come to light since the vote on Chief Officer’s pay was held in secret session.

An independent job evaluation study revealed that Fire Chiefs on the mainland, for areas with a population of anything up to 500,000, are entitled to a minimum of £94,000 per annum.

Mr Webster works one day a week for the Authority and his pay rise would have made that post the best paid in the Council on a pro rata basis.

Salaries expert, Russell Symonds of S.W. Councils told members that since he was managed by Philip, then Philip’s salary should be adjusted upwards and that means he’ll receive a salary of £96,000 for the days when the Chief Fire Officer is working here, falling back to £87,000 per annum for the rest of the week.

The quirk came to light during the same job evaluation study into Chief Officer remuneration on Scilly which saw the £4,500 Market Forces Supplements incorporated into basic pay for the half-dozen top Council jobs, including Mr Hygate’s.

And it’s caught the attention of the public sector spending watchdog, The Taxpayers’ Alliance.

They’ve published details of the 22% pay rise Philip has been awarded over the last two years in an article on their website which describes him as “trousering generous sums of taxpayers’ money.”

The Chief Exec’s basic salary now comes to £88,800 per annum from £73,000 two years ago. His total package, including pension, will now be in the region of £110,000.

Emma Boon of The Taxpayers’ Alliance says taxpayers are feeling the squeeze and that’s why they’ve singled out Philip Hygate’s pay package.

She says they’re seeing these types of pay rises across the country and now, more than ever, taxpayers want to see people earning their rewards.

They flagged up Philip Hygate’s pay because they feel his package is too much for such a small community to bear

She said the Isles of Scilly can be overlooked because they’re so small, or these types of matters are often made into ‘funny stories’, but she says there are some serious and worrying elements here, especially for the people here who pay their taxes.

Emma says many taxpayers are feeling the squeeze at the moment, often with their salaries frozen. She said it’s important to point out those working in the public sector who aren’t thinking about those taxpayers they’re serving. She said they shouldn’t be trying to “squeeze every last penny” out of them.

No pay rise can be offered without Councillors signing it off and this increase was democratically voted in.

Emma feels Councillors should be open about how they voted, if asked and not make these types of decisions behind closed doors. She said people can make their voice heard through their vote.



22 Responses to Pay Quirk Boosts Chief Executive Salary Even Further

  1. Tamar June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I understand that the CE’s pay was increased on the advice of a job evaluation performed by an external consultant, but I wonder when they are going to evaluate the jobs of the lower paid council workers who have endured recent pay freezes.

  2. Todd Stevens June 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Its time to make the post of CE redundant. However, our councillors are so stuck in the way we do things now that they are scared to try somthing radical new and forward thinking. Just think of it- Scilly without a CE- or Deputy CE. : )

  3. Mike Brown June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    The goalposts have been moved yet again!

    The deputy C/E salary is 86% of the C/E’s and the other chief officers get 80% of the C/E’s. So, now that the C/E gets his extra £2,000 pa the poor old Deputy and his mates are missing out. We’ll need to up theirs too to get back on track!!

    The reason I refer to this is because the Chief Officers used this percentage relationship in salaries to desperately defend their 18% hike in 2010, when councillors tried to adjust individual salaries by aligning them to small 2nd tier authorities.

  4. Roger June 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

    How much more national bad publicity can the Islands put up with before it sinks us. Yet another national newspaper highlighting the ridicules salary that Phillip Hygate receives.
    How can everyone else see the situation but our Councillors cannot. Are they being intimidated from above and frieghtend to say anything, or simply don’t understand the feeling of the vast majority of their electorate

  5. Cassandra June 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I’ve seen the argument that Philip Hygate’s salary doesn’t matter because it’s largely funded from the Mainland a few times now; unsurprisingly it’s not something that I can agree with. Public money is public money regardless of its source and we should be applying the same level of scrutiny to how it’s spent on the Islands regardless of whether it’s been taken from our own pockets or someone else. If you’re worried about the Taxpayers’ Alliance bringing unwelcome publicity to the Islands then cultivating a ‘Mainland pays’ culture isn’t exactly going to help Scilly’s reputation either.

    What about the view that Hygate is some kind of envoy for the islands, venturing to the Mainland and even London on a regular basis to bring back taxpayers’ money in the form of grants for the Islands? Well, that’s certainly how he sees his role and in a lot of ways he’s only doing his job, New Labour and the EU created (and the Tories have failed to end) a culture of grant dependency in certain parts of the UK which inevitably results in roles like Hygate’s. I can even see an argument that if he were to fail to chase grants he could be seen as failing in his duties. So what’s the problem then? Well, for one thing it’s unsustainable in probably even the medium term simply because it’s unaffordable. Oddly enough the Council has a mission statement (or whatever they call it) of building a ‘strong and sustainable island community’ while what it’s actually well on the way to creating is a begging bowl culture that’s completely the opposite of its stated aim and is going to come to a sudden end one day. Government policy created the problem and it must be Government policy that forces its end.

  6. Nigel Hudson June 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Two people crossed their names out of some 160-180 people at the meeting. An insignificant number of crossings-out but a significant proportion of voting populace of St Mary’s at the meeting, near 20 per cent.

  7. mark prebble June 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    @ Amanda. An interesting comment to post in relation to a public servant’s pay rise. Would you care to elaborate on what you felt was underhand and would you care to identify yourself?

  8. Todd Stevens June 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    The Wilby affair was just the catalyst for the vast majority. So what if his friends started it off -good for them I say, someone had to do it! I think most attended their meeting for a catalogue and long history of reasons; all of which come under a heading of a dismay as to how things are being run here. The public meeting did not just happen- it was a public show to our council that we have had enough of this kind of regime and the way it has been operating. To pay some of them far too much money for the privilage just adds insult to injury.

  9. Amanda June 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    The recent HEART meeting was a farce. People crossed their names out of the book on exit and many have expressed a dismay at the undemocratic nature of the meeting’s running; I think that it’s prudent to separate issues. The meeting was a propagandist session run by the friends of an accused man. That in itself is fair enough, they have the right to support their friend and you have the right to listen to them, but given the underhand techniques that were employed I would be very careful about using data taken from that meeting as evidence, even anecdotally.

    • Mike Brown June 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      I think you were at a different Heart Meting Amanda, I sat through the whole meeting and heard nothing underhanded. The meeting was extremely democratic, groups were formed and even their ideas were voted on, people were encouraged to leave if they felt uncomfortable. I spotted just one or two council workers there, have you wondered why there weren’t more?

      Yes I’m sure some supporters of Bryce were there but the wish as I read it was to get to the bottom of his suspension.

      Take a moment to consider our elected council where so many meetings are steeped in red papers, several of which secretly gave out pay rise after pay rise after pay rise to our chief officers!

  10. Todd Stevens June 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Not interested in how our CE is portrayed on the mainland or away from Scilly. What matters to the people here is how WE feel- how WE are treated for our money here. Sorry but at the recent HEART meeting the community expressed a life of living in fear and many wanted to express a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in our cheif officers. A pay rise is like a slap in the face.

  11. Rob June 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Jon – I was simply putting into perspective the TaxPayers’ Alliance misleading comments in the article, and it seems we are in agreement that the islanders don’t houlder the financial burden of this salary.
    The local government association regional and national have confirmed this is the correct payment after job evaluation – it’s not a salary decided on local whim. Public sector salaries are high across the board, but doesn’t Scilly deserve better than only being able to attract the lowest qualified for these important roles.

  12. Jon June 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks Rob, I think I understand now. It’s ok for someone else to pay extortionate public sector wages. We should just be grateful it’s not us Islanders.

  13. Rob June 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Of course you’re absolutely right Jon, but for the TaxPayers’ Alliance to point out the ‘burden on the small community’ is entirely misleading as the other 90% comes from a national government grant. I’m guessing the cost to the island taxpayer still wouldn’t be much greater than 11p per week.

  14. Chris June 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I agree with Roger that the publicity generated by this issue will damage the islands credibility, but only through being associated with a group such as the TaxPayers Alliance! They’ve been investigated in the past for running donations to the group through the charitable arm of their foundation in order to claim Gift Aid(!!).
    I was probably as baffled as anyone when I initially read reports about Chief Officer pay, but having looked into it I can’t see why people in Scilly should be paid less than their mainland counterparts? I would expect people in Scilly to want to attract the most capable people into these roles, for the good of the islands.

  15. Jon June 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    But Rob, the other 90% of the funding for our council is coming from taxes, which the people of the islands pay too.

  16. Rob June 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Any argument supported by the TaxPayers Alliance loses all credence
    immediately. A far right organisation, they preach transparency in this very
    article and yet they have refused to publish details of their own benefactors
    or income, totally hypocritical. They also fail to note that council tax
    only contributes to 10% of the council’s budget in the Isles of Scilly, much lower than
    other authorities, and council tax payments are lower in Scilly that those in
    Cornwall. Using your rudimentary maths Ian, the people of Scilly are paying far less than £55 – closer to £5.50 per year for their Chief Executive.That’s roughly 11p a week.
    Islanders in Scilly should be aware that their Chief Officer is held in
    regard outside the islands by regional and national bodies and does much to
    maintain the profile of Scilly beyond its own shores. Does the local
    authority really want to be treated as a parish council? The Taxpayers
    Alliance is not an altruistic public organisation working for the good of
    the ordinary tax payer, rather it is a small Conservative limited company
    with leanings towards UKIP. Scilly has benefitted greatly and will
    continue to do so from EU funding and should be aware of the sources of
    income and investment that upholds its survival.

  17. Roger June 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    More ammunition for the HEART campaign. How can one man receive salary increases over 2 years when all the low paid council workers had their pay frozen. Councillors please learn to say no. All councillors could start to put things right by ignoring the advice (or was it an instruction) from those above and attend the next HEART meeting and take on board the feelings of their electorate. The islands simply cannot afford the luxury of expensive officers.
    Please act before it is too late. The national publicity being generated will damage the islands credibility. Take positive action now

  18. Euan June 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Chief Executive, for accepting it and Councillors, for allowing it (the 5 who voted yes), should hang heads in shame.

  19. Ian June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    So in simple terms each one of the approx 2000 residents of the Scillies is paying about £55/year for this person – they obviously think he’s worth it?

  20. Jim June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    shocking waste of money. what possible justification can there be for this sort of ludicrous uplift in pay. He’s perfectly entitled to say no to it.

  21. Todd Stevens June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Utterly ridiculous. Time to restructure the top officers roles as a whole and make the Chief Executive role redundant- as has been successfully achieved in some mainland authorities in recent times.