Wednesday 17 July 2024
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City council chief gets £6,000 pay rise after national pay review process

Nottingham City Council’s chief executive will be paid more than £190,000 per year following a pay rise.

The position is currently held by Mel Barrett, who was appointed in May of 2020, when he replaced former chief executive Ian Curryer.

Mr Barrett had previously worked as chief executive for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

According to a 2024/25 pay policy statement, Mr Barrett is to be paid on an all-inclusive fixed spot salary of £190,890, taking into account the recent national 3.5 per cent pay award.

The salary had previously been set at £184,435.

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Previous years’ pay policy statements show the salary had been £179,813 back in 2022/23.

A Nottingham City Council spokesperson said: “The pay and terms of conditions of employment for local government chief executives are determined by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Executives.

“This means that annual pay awards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are subject to a national pay-review process and negotiated with the trade unions.

“The national pay award for chief executives for 2023/24 was agreed on 1 November 2023 and provides an increase of 3.50 per cent, with effect from 1 April 2023.”

However the pay gaps have been narrowing, according to pay policy documents.

Pay data in the document is based on salaries as of October 31, 2023; and at this time the national pay award for chief executive positions had not been agreed.

This means salary comparisons have been based off the chief executive’s previous salary of £184,435, not £190,890.

The chief officer pay awards had been agreed and are reflected in the pay data.

The documents show the average chief officer salary is £92,885.74.

The majority of chief officers working at the council belong to a pay group referred to internally as the ‘Senior Leadership Management Group (SLMG)’.

Pay in these groups ranges from as low as £58,082 per year to as high as £102,758.

Corporate directors are paid as low as £139,463 or as high as £162,375.

Meanwhile the lowest paid employee is on Nottingham City Council Grade B, Level 1, equating to a basic salary of £22,366.

Concerning gender, race and disability pay gaps, the documents add: “The council’s 2022/23 Gender Pay Gap report showed an average pay gap of minus 1.5 per cent, which means that on average women earned just over £1.02 for every pound earned by men.

“The Ethnicity Pay Gap showed an average pay gap of 5.1 per cent, which means on average Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees earned just over 95 pence for every pound earned by White British employees.

“The Disability Pay Gap showed an average pay gap of 0.0 per cent, which means on average disabled employees earned the same as non-disabled employees.”


The Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Executives (JNCC) is an entity that plays a key role in determining the pay rates and conditions of employment for Chief Executives in local councils. The committee typically includes representatives from both the employers’ side (such as local government associations) and the employees’ side (often represented by trade unions or professional bodies).

The JNCC usually comprises equal numbers of representatives from the employers (such as members from the Local Government Association) and the employees (which can include trade unions like UNISON or GMB, or professional associations).

Its primary role is to negotiate and set the pay, terms, and conditions for Chief Executives of local councils. This includes aspects like basic salary, pension contributions, allowances, and other benefits.

The committee is responsible for reviewing and setting pay scales for these positions. These reviews can be annual or occur at different intervals, considering factors like inflation, government policies, and economic conditions.

Beyond setting pay rates, the JNCC may also provide guidance on best practice for employment terms and conditions, helping to standardise the role of Chief Executives across different councils.

The process of pay rates is typically a negotiation, where both sides present their cases and reach a mutually agreeable solution. Once agreed, these terms set a benchmark that local councils generally follow, though there can be variations based on local circumstances.

The decisions made by the JNCC can significantly impact how local governments attract and retain talent for their top administrative positions.

The JNCC’s decisions are often influenced by broader public sector pay policies set by the government, reflecting wider economic and fiscal policies.

It’s important to note that while the JNCC plays a significant role in determining pay rates, individual councils may have some discretion in the actual remuneration packages offered to their Chief Executives, based on local conditions and needs.

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