How does Adur and Worthing Councils chief’s £150,455 salary compare to other workers?

Four of Adur and Worthing Councils’ executive officers earn more than £100,000 a year, as six-figure council salaries hit their highest level for seven years.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 4:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 4:57 pm

The councils’ accounts show chief executive Alex Bailey was paid £150,455 in 2019/20, including £26,215 of pension.

More than 2,800 local authority employees across the UK earned more than £100,000 in 2019/20, according to tax reform group the TaxPayers’ Alliance – the most since 2013/14.

But how does that compare to other public sector workers and what does it equate to in brass tax?

Homefield Park
Homefield Park

The figures come one month after West Sussex County Council approved a 4.99 per cent council tax rise for 2021/22.

On average, a Band D property owner in Adur and Worthing will pay £2,042.65 over that 12-month period.

That means Alex Bailey’s mammoth salary equates to an entire year’s worth of council tax from more than 74 homes in Adur and Worthing.

The councils’ six-figure directors – which also include the director for digital and resources Paul Brewer, director for the economy Martin Randall and Dr Catherine Howe, the direct for communities – earned a total of £510,014 in 2019/20.

That is the equivalent of 250 homes’ worth of Band D council tax. The entirety of the Kingston Wharf development in Shoreham, for example, or the first tranche of homes in New Monks Farm.

By comparison, a registered nurse employed by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with three years’ experience, earns just under £27,000.

That is less than 20 per cent of one Adur and Worthing Councils’ chief executive.

The councils’ big four equate to around 19 full-time registered nurses.

Last month, the Government recommended nurses should receive a one per cent pay increase for the year 2021/22, which works out as a pay cut with inflation set to rise to 1.5 per cent.

Sussex Police officers start at £24,546 per year – meaning one councils’ chief executive equals more than six police officers.

A trainee community firefighter working for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service earns £23,833 per annum. That is less than a fifth of the average councils’ director.

Public sector jobs aside, the median salary in West Sussex in 2019/20 was £28,186 per year. Over those 12 months, Adur and Worthing Councils’ chief executive earned more than five times the average worker.

Unlike councillors, council officers are typically non-political, working behind the scenes to put into action the agenda of the elected authority.

Mr Bailey recently announced he will be retiring in the summer, after almost eight years at the helm.

Responsibility for paying the salaries of the executive officers is divided equally between Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council.

Over the next few days, the Herald will be examining to what extent the councils’ executive officers impact our daily lives, contribute to the delivery of our public services and whether they constitute value for our money.