Senior leadership pay guidance

This guidance applies to all senior leadership roles evaluated under the Korn Ferry and Hay (KFH) scheme. Separate arrangements apply for the chief executive and executive directors. 

This guidance reflects the context of change in the council. It directly aligns pay levels to both individual and organisational performance. 

The chief officer pay board consists of: 

  • the corporate management board 
  • a specialist HR representative, as appropriate 

The pay board oversees the operation of this guidance. 

Background information 

In line with our pay policy, the main principles for this guidance are: 

  • to be fair, reasonable and transparent 
  • to reward employees for their contribution to our achievements 
  • to maintain rates of pay which are both competitive in the market place and reflect the need to retain valuable skills 
  • to be affordable 

We allocate pay ranges to pay zones with each zone containing jobs of a similar size. The KFH job evaluation scheme determines this. The scheme is based on 40 years of practical research. It is used extensively to evaluate senior posts in the public sector. 

Our pay policy contains details of both national and local conditions of service. It includes policies relating to senior leadership roles. 

Performance is assessed annually, in line with the performance and development appraisal policy. Any uplift to the individual's base salary is in line with the locally-determined annual pay award. 

The percentage of allocation is at our discretion. The allocation is reviewed annually, in line with affordability and external benchmark data. 

Core principles 

We base the senior leadership annual pay award on the previous twelve months' performance. The annual performance review determines this. 

There is an annual review of pay zones which takes into account information provided by KFH. The review is to ensure affordability and competitiveness in the market place.  

The chief officer conditions of service apply to all posts in the scope of this guidance. The only exception being the chief officers' disciplinary procedure. Our capability policy and procedure will apply in performance management issues. 

The chief officer pay board will consider all cases of proposed increases. Any increases are in line with the criteria set out in the assessment of performance timescales.  

Managers will link individual performance objectives to our objectives and the business plan. 

Starting pay 

During recruitment, we use the following to determine the starting salary: 

  • senior leadership competencies contained within the core values and behaviours framework 
  • required job-related knowledge and skills 

Managers have the flexibility to appoint within the pay range. Any appointment is subject to approval by the chief officer pay board. Requests will need to be objectively justified, taking into account factors such as: 

  • knowledge, skills, previous experience 
  • pay of existing employees within the service area 

Managers should consider the total remuneration package and external market drivers. We must ensure that our allowances and benefits are applied appropriately. 

All new post-holders are subject to an assessment, twelve months after starting in the role. The scheme works on a full annual cycle, not on a pro-rata basis. 

Pay zones and pay range

Pay zone and post titles Maximum pay Median pay Minimum pay
Director band - single zone
Director of public health
£130,608 £113,770 £104,817

Senior leadership - Zone A
Assistant director strategic finance
Assistant director children's (lead early help)
Assistant director children's (safeguarding)
Assistant director - joint commissioning and specialist services (adults)
Assistant director - adult frailty and long-term conditions
Assistant Director IMT
Assistant director commercial
Assistant director education
Assistant director highways
Assistant director communities
Assistant director growth
Assistant director corporate services
Assistant director corporate transformation, programmes and performance
Chief legal officer
Assistant director human resources and organisational support
Assistant director corporate services
Assistant director corporate transformation, programmes and performance

£110,845 £93,774 £84,896

Senior leadership - Zone B
Assistant director commissioning
Consultant in public health
Assistant director corporate property
Head of prevention and early intervention
Head of business intelligence and performance

£95,103 £80,381 £73,288

Senior leadership - Zone C
Head of SEND
Head of locality
Head of regulated services (fostering)
Head of regulated services (adoption)
Head of safer communities
Head of human resources
Head of (adult frailty and long term conditions; learning disability; special projects and hospital services; adult safeguarding; mental health services; integration and transformation)
Head of business support
Head of transport services
Head of highways infrastructure
Head of highways asset management
Head of ICT
Lead nurse in children's health
Head of commercial services, procurement and contract management

£81,281 £69,753 £64,387

Non-standard terms and conditions 

Individuals TUPE transferring to the council have the right to retain their existing terms and conditions. Changes may occur in certain prescribed circumstances. 

The transfer agreement protects individuals who transferred from the NHS on 1 April 2013. We will adopt the principles of performance management within this guidance for these post-holders. The pay range and the pay system for consultant roles in public health will apply to any future vacancies. 

Local pay award 

The chief officer pay board determines percentage uplifts for individuals on an annual basis. We pay these at our discretion.  

We will consider the option of converting the uplift to annual leave if this impacts on pension thresholds. We may adjust pay levels for each zone. Any adjustment will take into account the external benchmark data and market conditions provided by KFH. 

Market supplements 

Market supplements may be available in line with the attraction and retention policy. The chief officer pay board must agree to a business case for market supplements.  

Honoraria payments 

We do not usually pay honoraria payments for posts at this level. 

Assessment of performance and timescales 

We base the criteria for placing individuals within the pay range on a combination of: 

  • 'the what', such as the achievement of measurable business objectives or individual performance indicators as established during the appraisal process (output measures)
  •  'the how', such as competencies, skills and behaviours which individuals bring to the role (input measures)

This system of performance-related pay takes into account the measurement of: 

  • individual performance objectives 
  • senior leadership competencies to measure an individual's complete performance

These two factors will provide an overall performance rating. This performance rating will then determine the annual pay award. Any changes to consolidated pay will be at our discretion: 

  • on the 1 April 
  • or, on the anniversary of the start date for those that commence part-way during the performance cycle. 

The post-holder can use evidence gained from: 

  • elected members 
  • external inspection reports 
  • residents 
  • or, any of other our stakeholders  

This evidence may help to demonstrate the achievement of their performance indicators. It will provide evidence in the process of assessing senior leaders' performance. 


The senior leadership competencies core values and behaviours framework are the expected standard of performance for senior leaders.   

Setting and measuring objectives 

Individual performance indicators are objectives allocated to senior leaders based on our business plan. We apply the following principles to manage this process: 

  1. Whilst there is no formal requirement as to the number of objectives, individuals should have no more than six to eight objectives to ensure they have sufficient impact.  
  2. Some objectives will be more critical than others. State which of them are the key priorities at the time they are set. 
  3. Our objectives may change during the course of the year as priorities change. The line manager should agree to these changes with the post-holder. 
  4. The assessment of performance against objectives should be evidenced-based. It should require a qualitative assessment based on the judgment of the line manager and other stakeholders. The skill with which that judgment is exercised and communicated is crucial in this process. 

Assessment levels 

We hold a performance assessment at each year-end. The senior leader will receive an uplift to consolidated pay if they achieve one of the following ratings: 

  • outstanding 
  • highly-accomplished 
  • successful 

It is paid in the April preceding the end of the performance cycle. 

If the senior leader is an inconsistent or low performer, we will award them a cost of living uplift. This will be determined locally by the chief officer pay board. 

These outcomes don't apply to employees who start part-way through the annual cycle. 

Following performance reviews, all proposed ratings are subject to chief officer pay board calibration. This calibration will ensure fairness and consistency in application. Performance ratings could be subject to change as a result of this process and are based on evidence. 

Appealing against performance assessments 

If a senior leader believes that we did not assess or recognise their performance adequately, they should discuss this with their line manager.

If still dissatisfied, the senior leader may appeal to the officer pay board, whose decision is final. 

The senior leader must submit corroborative evidence for an appeal. 

Calibration of performance assessments 

After the performance assessment period, we calibrate all assessments to ensure consistency by the: 

  • relevant executive director  
  • or, chief executive in the case of directors 

We forward calibrated assessments to the chief officer pay board. The board will ensure:  

  • the guidance is applied consistently  
  • performance assessments are fair and equitable 

The final decision rests with the chief officer pay board. If the board proposes any changes to the overall assessment, the line manager will inform the senior leader.