Followers of Lambeth People’s Audit may recall a war of words broke out last year when Lambeth Labour claimed our report on senior council salaries (over £50,000 a year) had ‘conflated pay of Lambeth teachers with council officers.’
As the purpose of community-led audits such as ours is to seek out the truth about council spending – we decided to make further efforts to find evidence of what is really going on with senior pay at Lambeth Council.
It has been a deeply frustrating experience. This article gives a blow-by-blow account of our attempts to get some straight answers – the contradictions and mis-directions we encountered, and the culture of obfuscation that prevents proper scrutiny of Lambeth Council’s spending.
It is clear that until Lambeth can provide reliable data, it will not be possible to state exactly how many senior managers Lambeth have had working for them over the last ten years.
However, what we can glean is that despite making over 2,000 staff redundant, the number of senior managers remains on an upward trajectory. In the five years since 2014 the number of senior council staff has increased from 208 to between 288 and 298, at an additional annual cost of between £5.56M and £6.66M. We have also been able to establish that Lambeth’s claim that the increase in senior staff is almost exclusively due to an increase in schools staff is incorrect.