More than £2.9m paid in salaries to top officers at Norfolk councils

Dr Wendy Thomson, who was chief executive of Norfolk County Council.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Dr Wendy Thomson, who was chief executive of Norfolk County Council.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The most highly paid officers in councils across Norfolk earned just over £2.9m in 2017/18 - as people across the county see a hike in their council tax bills.

The Taxpayers' Alliance has published its Town Hall Rich List, which details the council employees whose remuneration exceeds £100,000 a year.

In Norfolk, there were 23 officers who came into that category, with 13 of them employed by Norfolk County Council.

The top earner was managing director Dr Wendy Thomson, whose salary was £183,600, with then director of children's services Matt Dunkley in second place with a £153,000 salary.

Both have now left County Hall, with Dr Thomson due to take up a post as the vice-chancellor of the University of London from July.

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Mr Dunkley had been brought in as interim director of the council's children's services department at a time when it was attempting to turn around an 'inadequate' rating from Ofsted. He has since left to join Kent County Council.

Other high earners at County Hall were Tom McCabe, executive director of communities and environment (£142,300), finance director Simon George (£137,100) and James Bullion, executive director of adult social services (£133,100).

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The council has agreed not to replace Dr Thomson with a new managing director.

Instead, the authority is switching to an executive leader model, with the head of paid service role attached to one of the directors.

Breckland District Council was listed as having four officers with remuneration of £100,000 or more, including chief executive Anna Graves, with a £127,049 salary. However, those posts are all shared with South Holland District Council, with the salary costs split 60/40 - so the cost to Breckland is reduced.

Norwich City Council had two officers listed, including chief executive Laura McGilivray, whose salary was £120,895.

Broadland District Council's chief executive Phil Kirby had a salary of £120,885 and South Norfolk Council's chief executive Sandra Dinneen's was £129,681.

The pair have since departed, with Trevor Holden now joint managing director of the two authorities.

Only one district council in Norfolk - Broadland - opted not to increase its share of the council tax for the upcoming year.

In Suffolk, the county council had 11 officers with remuneration of at least £100,000 and Waveney had two.

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