How do council housing heads and arm’s-length management organisation bosses fare in the salary stakes? Lydia Stockdale reveals the results of Inside Housing’s exclusive poll
For the second consecutive year, Inside Housing has gathered together the salaries of the housing heads of the largest stock-owning local authorities and arm’s-length management organisations to find out how things are shaping up for them financially.
We contacted the 10 UK councils with the most homes, the 10 ALMOs that manage the most properties, and also the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, to discover how much their most senior housing professionals earn (see below for the full tables).
On average, salaries for housing heads at local authorities have dropped 7 per cent from 2009/10 to £90,410. Meanwhile for ALMO chief executives, average pay has remained largely the same at £123,431.
‘You would expect the council and ALMO chief executive salaries to reflect the general atmosphere of cuts - for them to have remained static or to have gone down,’ says Alistair McIntosh, chief executive of consultancy HQN.
The average salary for a council housing head compares relatively modestly with the £156,141 paid on average to housing association chief executives.
This apparent £65,000 pay gap is, as Michael Gelling, chair of the Tenants’ and Residents’ Organisations of England points out, despite council housing bosses having a wider remit. ‘They have extra responsibilities as well as [having to make] savings placed on them by central government,’ he says.
However, a council housing head’s average pay per million turnover - at £813.56 - is more favourable whencompared with some housing association chief executives.
Last year, commentators on the survey made the point that council housing heads receive support from finance and other departments, whereas housing association chief executives control these themselves. However, Mr Gelling’s argument that council bosses are responsible for more than just housing is also valid.
Mary Castles, executive director of housing and social work services at 36,584-home North Lanarkshire Council, is an example of someone with more than one service area under her leadership. She earned a basic salary of £113,250 in 2010/11, a 3 per cent rise from 2009/10.
Derek Muir, meanwhile, is head of housing and neighbourhood services at Fife Council, which owns and manages 30,000 homes. He was paid £86,000 in 2010/11, which is 1 per cent more than he earned in 2009/11, and equates to £2.87 per home.
The head of landlord services at 69,000-home Birmingham Council - a post which was vacant in 2010/11 - would earn between £76,000 and £85,000, which averages out at £1.17 per home.
And back in Scotland at South Lanarkshire Council, Annette Finnan, head of area services, earned between £88,800 and £93,800 in 2010/11 - which is the same as her predecessor earned in 2009/10. The local authority owns and manages 25,500 properties, so her pay equates to an average of £3.58 per home.
As for the NIHE, which owns and manages a whopping 90,188 properties in Northern Ireland and had a turnover of £765 million in 2010/11, its former chief executive Paddy McIntyre, who retired on 31 December 2010, earned the equivalent of £124,414 per year. Stewart Cuddy, who was acting chief executive from January to March 2011, took home the equivalent of £106,229 per year.
New starters receiving less than their predecessors is a trend that is being seen across the housing sector says HQN’s Mr McIntosh. ‘What’s really interesting is that new recruits are taken on at less money,’ he states.
The average 7 per cent drop in local authority housing heads’ pay results from a change in job roles within councils. At Bristol Council, which owns and manages 28,400 homes, for example, the post of director of neighbourhoods has been cut, meaning that now the most senior housing professional at the local authority is director for landlord services.
The role, which is shared by Mary Ryan and Steve Barrett comes with a £81,000 salary which is around 25 per cent lower than the remuneration offered for the previous director of neighbourhoods role, which was between £102,686 to £112,597.
‘We’ve simplified the management structure, with a number of senior posts going,’ explains a spokesperson for Bristol Council.
Moving on to ALMOs and Gwyneth Taylor, policy director at the National Federation of ALMOs, says she’s not surprised that the chief executives’ remuneration has mostly remained static. ‘ALMOs have tended to be asked to freeze salaries,’ she states.
Peter Morton, chief executive of Sheffield Homes, the largest ALMO in terms of the number of homes managed, was paid £128,000 in 2010/11. Sheffield Homes manages 41,712 homes on behalf of Sheffield Council and his salary equates to £3.07 per home.
Mr Morton did not receive a salary increase between 2009/10 and 2010/11. Nor did Eamon McGoldrick, chief executive of Homes for Islington, whose salary banding means he takes home between £122,940 and £133,185 a year; Cathy Deplessis, who was chief executive of Lambeth Living until February this year and earned £125,000; Simon Rogers, chief executive of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, who took home £99,507; or Ashley Crumbley, chief executive of Wigan & Leigh Housing, who earned £123,281.
Charlotte Graves, chief executive of 31,500-home Hackney Homes and also corporate director of housing at Hackney Council, is the highest paid ALMO chief executive of those we surveyed.
She earned £136,420 in both 2009/10 and 2010/11. However, with an annual turnover of £115 million she is paid one of the least per million turnover at £1,186.
Paul Field, who has been interim chief executive of 29,042-home Sandwell Homes since July 2010 was paid £109,873 in 2010/11. This is 13 per cent less than the salary his predecessor Brian Oakley was paid for 2009/10 - he took home £126,450.
ALMO chief executives’ pay packets tend to be calculated using local government formulas, which are used to assess degrees of responsibility, explains Ms Taylor.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association confirms the findings of our survey are a ‘reflection of what is happening across councils’. A lot of local authorities are looking at their executive teams to make savings on salaries, he says. ‘Housing teams are no different.’
the average salary for a council strategic housing director or equivalent in 2010/11
the average a council strategic housing director or equivalent is paid per million pounds turned over
the average a council strategic housing director or equivalent is paid per home owned and managed
the maximum amount of performance-related pay that Mary Castles, executive director of housing and social work services at North Lanarkshire Council, could have received in 2010/11, although the authority refused to reveal whether she did in fact receive this
Arm’s-length management organisation pay
the average salary for an arm’s-length management organisation chief executive in 2010/11
the average an ALMO chief executive is paid per million pounds turned over by their organisation
the average an ALMO chief executive is paid per home managed
the number of ALMO chief executives who received a bonus