By Lucy Phillips
2 July 2010
The six-figure salaries of the 160 highest paid quango bosses were published today in the government’s latest attempt to boost transparency.
The name, job title, grade and salary of all non-departmental public body employees earning more than £150,000 have been made public on the Cabinet Office website. The move comes after a list of the 172 highest earning civil servants was published in June.
Today’s list was topped by the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, David Higgins, on an annual salary of between £390,000 and £394,999. He is one of 15 people working for quangos related to the 2012 London Olympic Games who earn more than £150,000.
Next on the rich list came Tony Fountain, the chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who earns between£365,000 and £369,999 a year.
Some 26 quango bosses are on an annual salary of more than £200,000, with Lord Mogg, the chairman of energy regulator Ofgem, receiving between £210,000 and £214,999 a year for a three-day week.
The Audit Commission also featured heavily in the list, with seven employees at the watchdog earning more than the prime minister’s salary of £142,500. An eighth – chairman Michael O’Higgins – earns between £90,000 and £95,000 for a two-day week.
Cabinet office minister Francis Maude, who also chairs the new public sector transparency board, said today’s publication ‘shows that transparency is fast becoming an integral part of everything we do’. He added: ‘I believe this will not only increase accountability, but will lead to more efficient public services.’
But Colin Talbot, professor of public policy at Manchester Business School, dismissed the list as a ‘gimmick’. He told Public Finance
that it was ‘sensationalist populism’ to help the government justify its aim of dramatically culling the number of quangos.
He condemned the government for not waiting until after a public sector pay review, commissioned by the coalition, had been carried out by Will Hutton, the executive vice chair of the Work Foundation. ‘Then we would have a more balanced view,’ Talbot said, adding that ‘what top public sector managers get is small change compared to City traders’.