Two new £130,000 jobs created in Wolverhampton Council restructure

Opposition councillors have called for increased scrutiny of the work highly paid senior staff do after a planned restructure was agreed at Wolverhampton Council.

Wolverhampton Council
Wolverhampton Council

The authority is to create two new high-level posts with salaries between £127,296 and £134,957 under the first phase of its ‘Our Future Senior Leadership’ scheme which it says will bring savings in the long-term.

At a recent full council meeting, where it was agreed to proceed with the restructure, the ruling Labour group said it the total number of management posts would be reduced and the new roles would not cost taxpayers any extra cash.

Leader Ian Brookfield added the restructure would bring about a “major six-figure saving” once phase two is implemented.

But Conservative group boss Wendy Thompson slammed the report as just “half the story” and raised fears the promised savings would eventually come as a result of lower paid workers losing their jobs.

She also demanded more councillors across the chamber hold the senior executive board to account for the work they do.

The two new posts will be a new executive director of families, leading a merged children’s and adults directorate, and a chief operating officer.

Two vacant posts of head of HR and head of democratic and support services have been deleted and fall under the responsibility of the deputy director of people and change – which carries a salary of between £87,317 and £96,449.

Bosses also agreed to remove the director of housing post – which is on the pay scale of between £99,580 to £119,954.

Councillor Brookfield said the overall changes would help the authority get away from the ‘silo mentality’ the authority has been working in.

He said: “We have been trying for decades and getting our senior leadership into teams who can focus on what’s right and what our city’s priorities are.

“There will be a subsequent phase. One of the most important things is it will be at no extra costs to the residents and by the end of the phases, we anticipate a major six-figure saving. It’s right we do this.”

But Councillor Thompson said: “I can hardly believe this report. It wouldn’t be so bad if we’d got stage two with it, because we could actively see the savings and where they are coming from. But we can’t. This is only half the story.

“The average salary (in this city) is below £24,000 and we are talking about people earning many times that salary. And what have we got for it?

“Looking out at the city, we have the sixth-highest unemployment rate like we’ve had for the last 10 to 15 years if not longer.

“We have a city centre that is depending on the Government pouring millions of pounds into it otherwise there will be more shops that would go under.

“We are in a city with very little affluence indeed and those that do have a bit of affluence are not shopping here.

“If you are going to do this, we suspect you will be taking jobs away from the lower end.

“Those lower end jobs provide the tree services that even you complain you can’t get done. Those jobs are filling in the potholes in the roads. Those jobs are important to the people of Wolverhampton.

“Be very careful what you are doing with this. For these kind of salaries, there will be people expected to do a huge account.

“And please more of you ask questions of the directors. There is such a thing as accountability and it is enormously important.”

Councillor Brookfield branded the criticism as “nasty” and added: “None of our people, including our chief executive, are paid outside the range. This is absolutely normal in any authority in the country.”

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