Posted by: Carl Brown28/09/2012
Housing association bosses salaries are a favourite topic for sections of the press.
Quite often the media jumps on the latest pay hikes, often citing Inside Housing’s annual salary survey, as examples of bosses using social assets and taxpayer funding to enrich themselves.
In reality of course, pay is set by a remuneration committee – but there is a valid debate around how much it is reasonable to pay housing association bosses, particularly as associations, unlike councils, are not accountable to the electorate through the ballot box.
Pay bosses ’too much’ and it is seen as a misuse of public money, but them too little and there is a real risk associations find it more difficult to find leaders of the right calibre.
My own take on this is that associations, particularly large associations, do need to get the best possible people to run them and much of the criticism is over the top.
Former housing minister Grant Shapps’ obsession with using the prime minister’s salary as some kind of benchmark never made much sense to me. The prime minister’s salary is purposely lower than other public officials, as the PM can make millions after his/her premiership from memoirs and public speaking (not to mention having two houses provided by the taxpayer).
However the revelation this week that Metropolitan paid former chief executive Bill Payne £412,897 last year, include a whopping £200,000 compensation package, is worrying. This £200,000 was paid not to enable better delivery of vital public services to tenants, but for Mr Payne to walk away -and to walk away from an organisation in trouble with the regulator at that.
At a time when housing associations are under regulatory and political pressure to demonstrate they are using assets wisely, the controversy over Mr Payne’s salary is the last thing the sector needs.
From Housing matters
Carl Brown looks at regulation, training, board members, pay and a host of other issues that impact the day to day running of social landlords