Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Correction on “Council executives on top pay rockets” story

On the 18th July the Bristol Cable published a story about a 53% increase in the number of council employees employed on the highest salary…

Reports

On the 18th July the Bristol Cable published a story about a 53% increase in the number of council employees employed on the highest salary bands. This information, while based directly on the council’s accounts, is inaccurate. Therefore we are offering an apology and a correction to the article.

Bristol City Council have said 79 of the extra 115 additions on the payroll are due to exit packages upon redundancy. This implies that in fact there are only 36 extra council staff earning a basic salary above £50k, which is a 17% increase.

Source: Draft Statement of Accounts, Bristol City Council, page 65.

The mistake was an easy one to make. The council accounts contain a table showing the number of staff receiving ‘remuneration’ of greater than £50,000. The table does indeed show a 53% increase in the number of staff on the highest remuneration bands.

We published the story on this basis – reporting that the council was employing more staff at a senior pay level.

However, a plain reading of this table is incorrect. As the mayor, Marvin Rees, and deputy mayor for finance, Craig Cheney, have clarified, the table doesn’t relate to council staff employed on salaries of greater than £50,000 but just the number of staff receiving greater than £50,000 in remuneration, which includes redundancy payments and exit packages. This is an unusual way to present the information.

For example, a person listed in the £50,000-£54,999 bracket could be someone who earned only £40,000 per annum, but was made redundant and paid a £10,000 redundancy package – bringing their total remuneration in 2016/17 above the reporting threshold. Marvin Rees has stated that 79 of the 115 extra people on the ‘high earners’ bracket are there due to extra redundancy payments.

Therefore, the story we reported which said, “331 employees are now paid an annual basic pay of between £50,000 and £124,000”, is incorrect. The figure that there had been a 53% increase in council employees on a salary between £50,000 and £124,000 is also incorrect.

As a result, the piece unfairly criticises Marvin Rees for prioritising paying council management rather than delivering services.

We did notify the mayor and the council that we were publishing this story, however they did not respond within the 24 hours we gave to them. On reflection, this was too short a period to allow our inquiry to be picked up by the press office, relayed to Marvin Rees and the finance team, and then returned to us.

We apologise for the delay in issuing this correction. We are committed to addressing inaccuracies at the soonest possible point. We have been in dialogue with the press office over the last two days in order to issue a full clarification.

We sincerely apologise to all concerned, including our readers and members, for the inaccuracies, and any offence caused.

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?

Comments

Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

  • Oh why oh why do they do it! So disappointing and demonstrates a sad lack of understanding of the day to day challenges faced by their constituents. What happened to leading by example.

    Reply

  • Quite right that you should apologise. The job they face is hard enough without the constant incorrect sniping. Professionals of a high standard earn over £50k. They can get jobs elsewhere and need to be attracted to the role. Otherwise, the Council will need to attract people willing to work on a charitable basis or people that are unable to get work elsewhere and willing to work for below industry standard salaries. Any multi-billion t/o organisation needs capable experienced staff and needs to pay the going rate.

    Reply

  • Good journalism – apologising – I am impressed! I hope it just wasn’t because of threat from the Council – as they have some muscle. It is important to correct any false news so that people trust journalism – or it is the end of journalism as we have known it.

    Reply

  • Well done once again to the Cable. Really impressed with the integrity of this team of journalists. You are developing a lot of trust in your readership, and learning a lot upon the way!

    Reply

  • Ok then, new headline, Bristol CC prioritises paying management rather than services, 17% increase in staff on high salaries at a time when the total workforce has shrunk – why?

    Reply

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

LIVE: Bristol general election results, as Greens win Bristol Central and Labour gains seats off Tories

Bristol general election results 2024: Labour will be looking to take seats off the Tories on the edge of Bristol in the general election, while the Greens have their eyes on Bristol Central.

Watch: Why you should back the Cable – in 60 seconds

A breakdown of all the things we've managed to achieve for Bristol in almost a decade of reporting.

We’re working to diversify the Cable team. Let’s start with our freelancer base

The Cable exists to challenge the structure of the media, but we are not representative enough of our city. Here’s what we’re doing to change things.

Cable Live x Bristol Transformed – can Apartheid-Free Zones help liberate Palestine?

The panel asks what was the St Paul’s Apartheid-Free Zone – and how can it be a model in today’s fight for Palestinian freedom?

Watchdog finds ‘serious failings’ after concluding council does not know what state its housing is in

Bristol City Council has been called out by a government regulator for not meeting new quality standards, with thousands of repairs and damp and mould cases long overdue for action and many safety check records missing.

VIDEO: Chief constable challenged on ‘anti-racist policing’ progress and stop and search reform

It’s been a year since Avon and Somerset’s chief constable Sarah Crew admitted her service was institutionally racist, but what is she actually doing about it?

‘The only language the university speaks is money’: pro-Palestine students now facing eviction

A possession order brought by Bristol University to evict the protest camp has been rejected - but only until further hearings on 19 July.

Low turnout: why didn’t you vote at the general election?

14 years of Tory rule came to an end last week, but turnout was the lowest in years, so we want to hear from people who didn't vote.

Read more

Listen: the Debrief – raking over a historic set of Bristol general election results

Join sleep-deprived Cable journalists Priyanka Raval and Matty Edwards as they attempt to reflect on a long night of election fever that saw Bristol's first Green MP elected – and senior Tories kicked out around the city's edges.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning