Salary to drop for next head of equality body
BY JAIMIE KAFFASH
The new chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission will be on a signifi cantly lower salary than the previous occupier of the post, Nicola Brewer. The role of head of the commission was advertised last weekend at a salary of £120,000. Brewer left the equality watchdog in May 2009. Her salary at the end of March 2008 was £185,000. A spokesman for the EHRC
told Public Finance that the new salary was approved by ministers after the formation of the coalition government last week.
This is the fi rst government- funded senior role to be advertised since the coalition came to power and suggests that ministers are already instructing bodies to recruit senior posts at far lower salaries.
Detailing the government’s £6.2bn worth of cuts this week, Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws said that £120m would be saved from a civil service recruitment freeze. He added that any outstanding departmental pay deals from this year would need his approval before being agreed and that any salaries above the prime minister’s – £142,500 per year – would need approval. Will Hutton, executive vice chair of the Work Foundation, has been put in charge of a pay review of public sector workers and will be looking into senior salary levels.
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14 PUBLIC FINANCE MAY 28–JUNE 3 2010
DCLG chief appointed top civil servant in Scotland
BY DAVID SCOTT & JAIMIE KAFFASH
Peter Housden, the outgoing permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, has been appointed Scotland’s top civil servant.
He replaces Sir John Elvidge who is retiring after seven years in the job.
Housden is a former
comprehensive school teacher, director of education and council chief executive. He has held the top job at the DCLG since October 2005. He said he was ‘genuinely excited’ by the challenge of the role, which he will take up on June 22. ‘Scotland has its own government, a great sense of pride and ambition and a civil service of passion, achievement and integrity,’ he added. Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘I am obviously sad to lose someone of such courageous leadership, who puts the interests of the department, and of the communities it serves, fi rst. ‘Peter faces an exciting challenge in Scotland, and I wish him well.’
Reports in Scotland have
speculated that Housden is being moved after being briefed against by Conservative MPs in the run-up to the general election for being too close to Labour ministers.
However, he was also at the heart of a row with Labour ministers over local government reorganisation in England. Housden had warned that moves by the previous government to turn Norwich and Exeter into single unitary authorities were likely to waste money. In leaked letters to ministers, he said the changes would ‘impact adversely on the fi nancial position of the public sector’. The coalition government has reversed the policy.
Elvidge has also been the subject of controversy. He was accused by both Labour and the Conservatives of political bias in favour of the Scottish National Party when he said in 2007 that he was working for a ‘separate government’ – interpreted by some as an attack on the Union.
Last year, he was criticised by the Scottish Parliament audit committee over evidence he gave in connection with the resignation of Transport
Scotland chief executive Malcolm Reed.
Just the day before his decision to retire was announced, a further report said the committee did not accept the case put forward by Elvidge in justifying a severance package awarded to the transport chief.
Elvidge said he believed the job called for ‘someone who can provide continuity of leadership before and after the Scottish elections next year’. He added the new head needed to support ministers in planning and delivering the response to public expenditure changes.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Elvidge merited ‘enormous credit’ for the professionalism with which the civil service supported the change of government in Scotland in 2007.
Housden will be replaced at the DCLG by Irene Lucas, previously director-general for local government and
regeneration at the department, on an interim basis. She joined the department in September 2009, having been chief executive at South Tyneside council since 2002.
‘Scotland has a civil service of passion, achievement and
Incoming permanent secretary, Scottish Government
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