Northamptonshire County Council director's salary 'obscene' say unions

Northamptonshire County Council's new headquarters
Image caption Sally Hodges was appointed as children's director at Northamptonshire County Council following a critical Ofsted report

Unions say the £1,100-a-day pay of a council's new children's director is "obscene and unjustified".

Sally Hodges, who was appointed by Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) in February, has a salary of £258,000.

The unions which represent some staff at the authority, who this year were not given a pay rise, said the salary was unacceptable.

The council said the salary reflected a "detailed assessment" of the market rate for such posts.

Ms Hodges earns more than the financially-troubled authority's chief executive.

Kev Standishday, Unison's branch secretary in Northamptonshire, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "This obscene salary cannot be justified in any way and harks back to the days when NCC paid outrageous sums of money to consultants and agency staff across social care which then contributed to the county going broke."

GMB branch secretary Rachelle Wilkins said she was "deeply concerned" about the salary.

"This sends the wrong message to people that have worked for the council without a pay rise," she said.

The unions have been told there could be a pay rise in June for all staff, with pay backdated to April, but nothing has been confirmed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption NCC say Ms Hodges is employed on a year-long contract and responsible for a workforce of over 1,200

The Conservative-led council has announced that this year it should balance its books, after going £40m over budget last financial year.

The government stepped in last year to oversee children's services after a critical Ofsted report, six months after the government appointed two other commissioners to oversee the authority as a whole.

Before joining NCC Sally Hodges had been a children's director at a number of other councils and has advised Ofsted.

The authority said Ms Hodges "is one of the UK's leading children's services professionals and has a wealth of experience" and that her salary reflected this and was decided after "a detailed market assessment".

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