North Yorkshire County Council - County Hall, Northallerton
North Yorkshire County Council - County Hall, Northallerton

New council set to cut chief officer costs by over £1 million a year

Councillors have agreed to kick-start the recruitment process for the chief executive of the new single council for North Yorkshire, in a move that will deliver very significant annual financial savings.

In 10 months, a new unitary North Yorkshire Council will replace the eight* local authorities currently providing public services across the county.

Ending the two-tier system of local government in North Yorkshire was a prerequisite to qualifying for the strongest possible devolution deal and will save tens of millions of pounds a year to shore-up essential public services and fund empowered local decision-making.

The search for a chief executive for the new council signals the start of the next phase of its formation, following the election of 90 councillors to 89 new divisions earlier last month (May 5).

These councillors will serve the last months of the county council and the first four years of North Yorkshire Council.

The recruitment exercise is a legal requirement and will be overseen by the cross-party chief officer appointment and disciplinary committee, which met today (Monday, June 6), to consider the following:

  • The salary for the chief executive officer for the new North Yorkshire Council;
  • The recruitment process and job description.

The committee’s chairman, Cllr Carl Les, said:

Our new council will be one of the largest local authorities nationally, providing essential services to more than 600,000 people.

The chief executive will need to manage a revenue budget of around £1.4 billion and the new council will have an ongoing capital programme of around £350 million. In addition to the vast array of council services and functions, this job also includes heading up the council’s commercial operations at a critical time.

The successful candidate will lead the transition of eight councils becoming one and then drive transformation to bring services together in a way that is effective and makes sense to communities, improves opportunities for people and delivers large ongoing financial savings.

This money will be critical to future-proof valued public services and to support empowered local decision-making.

In tandem with all of this, the chief executive will work with senior elected members in North Yorkshire and York to secure the best possible devolution deal for the region.

We are the first council to pursue local government reorganisation and devolution together, and the timescales are tight, so we are looking for exceptional candidates.

This recruitment process will also will start to deliver the early benefits outlined in the business case for a new single council. By replacing eight chief executives with one, we will be saving in excess of £1million a year. This is just the beginning.


The recruitment process will be open and promoted nationally. The salary and appointment will be subject to the approval of the county council.

The salary package has been benchmarked against similar public sector roles nationally (see Appendix 3). The sample data shows the pay for unitary councils of a similar size to North Yorkshire falls within a salary range of £188,000 to £216,000 per annum.

However, the proposed salary limit for the new chief executive is £197,000. Set against the current combined packages for the eight chief executives of North Yorkshire councils, this would deliver an annual saving in excess of £1 million.

The full report is available here:


  1. In my view the salary isn’t “far too high” at all – because it will not attract high caliber individuals with the ability, track record, skill, experience, knowledge, organisational acumen, talent, tenacity and critically the ability to manage change and challenge entrenched outdated processes, procedures and self interest. It will however attract long serving public sector candidates most of whom are unable to survive in the business/commercial world. (Let’s remember there is no real accountability in the whole of the public sector) We need a CEO whose skills are such as to be able to cut through the bureaucracy, change the culture, stand up to the Unions, (look at the rail scenario which we can’t afford to be repeated), understand the finances and remove under performing employees. The public sector along with the likes of the NHS (including GP Practices) are so woefully ineffective and inefficient that in order to acquire real talent the level of pay should be at least £400kpa. £200k basic with £200k based on absolutely clear provable targets being achieved. Give him/her a rolling 3 year contract and if he/she fails then he/she goes without compensation and returns the bonus. Appoint an existing public sector individual and little will change.The Council must be run as a business not as a charity. Councillors, whilst I’m sure their hearts are in the right place, (of whatever political colour) are, sadly, mostly low performing individuals in career terms, incapable of managing a large team or a business, (who has amongst the existing Councillors) – certainly not a council full of employees who think the world owes then a living and who, God forbid, might have to work beyond a 37.5hr. week – many of whom are paid £6 figure salaries. As a result we get massive waste and disproportionately low value for the services councils offer. As a society we cannot continue to fund under performing bureaucratic and self serving organisations. There are fantastic opportunities to improve the lives of the people of North Yorkshire residents but it needs true leadership, guts and commitment …

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