Councils should consider scrapping the post of chief executive and use the money saved to fund frontline services, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
In its submission to the inquiry being conducted into the pay of chief officers in local government, the DCLG stated the post of chief executive is often 'unnecessary'.
It said: ‘The Government believes that the traditional model of chief executive, with a wide public role and a significant salary, is unnecessary and can weaken the ability of a council’s political leadership to set a direction through the executive role of elected members.
‘It is entirely conceivable to see, within a council, the existence of a lean and efficient management structure with a senior director taking the role of the head of paid service, and leaving an executive leader with the freedom to provide the direction and strategic leadership that any council requires.’
However, council leaders said the current pay frameworks for senior officers in local government are transparent and fair.
In its written submission, the Local Government Association (LGA) wrote: ‘The view of the LGA is that decisions on reward packages must be made by the local employer because they are most familiar with their operational needs and the labour markets that they recruit in.
‘The LGA believes that the current pay frameworks that apply to chief executives and chief officers provide a high degree of transparency and fairness through consistent processes and regular publication of reward packages.
‘The LGA believes that there is no evidence that remuneration packages for top executives in local government are growing too fast compared either with other sectors or average pay levels within local government.'
Visit The MJ for responses from The Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and Unison.