The salary paid to the chief executive of Havering Council will rise to almost £200,000 a year, despite the authority's perilous financial position.

The council’s pay policy, set against the national pay awards, will see chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert’s salary climb to as high as £196,755. 

The pay scale is currently between £183,299 and £190,100 for the top position and tends to increase year on year. 

Havering Council said the £6,655 pay rise had been built into the budget, which was approved back in February. 

A spokesperson for the council said it was vital the council had the right people for the right jobs, and that they were properly compensated.

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They said: “It is important we ensure we have the right people doing the right jobs as it is a competitive public sector jobs market and if salaries fail to be competitive there is a danger of losing talented staff.

“In addition, it should not be underestimated the responsibilities chief officers have in managing complex services and large budgets and teams, often supporting the most vulnerable people.”

The authority was left facing effective bankruptcy as the financial year drew to a close, prompting council leader Ray Morgon to accept a £54million loan from central government

While it has avoided a takeover by government commissioners – who are sent in to manage a council after it declares bankruptcy – the authority will undergo an external financial review. 

It is expected to begin selling off public assets and cutting ‘superfluous’ services to balance the books, while paying back the loan over the next 20 years – with an added one per cent on the interest

The spokesperson said the council’s situation was due to a “broken funding formula” and that officers should not bear the brunt.

Mr Blake-Herbert receives no bonuses, overtime pay or any other supplements.

The salaries of local authority chief executives across England and Wales are set by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Executives of Local Authorities. 

Arguing for a pay rise for council chiefs in 2024, representatives from the GMB and Unison trade unions said their salaries had fallen by around 35pc since April 2008, while comparable private sector rates had increased. 

Those in the top positions also reported “extremely high rates of unpaid overtime working,” alongside the “strain of stress and anxiety” associated with a “time of great financial pressure”. 

A salary of £196,755 would be eight times the salary of the lowest-paid Havering Council worker and around five times the salary of the median council employee.

Alongside the pay rise for the chief executive, strategic directors would see their salaries rise to as much as £169,254, up by £5,725 from £163,529.

Higher paid directors would also receive a boost of around £4,951, climbing from £141,395 to £146,346.