Commenting on the passing of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Bill in the National Assembly, Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said:
“The passing of this Bill takes some important initial steps towards greater transparency and accountability in local government, although it falls short in several key areas.
“While I welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s u-turn on making chief executive pay subject to independent recommendations, it is still possible for local authorities to bypass such recommendations and award bumper pay rises to chief executives at a time when low paid council staff face pay freezes.
“Welsh Conservatives sought to strengthen the legislation so that the often six figure salaries of senior officers would also be subject to independent recommendations.
“Welsh Conservatives were the only opposition party to put forward amendments to this debate to tackle exorbitant pay rises for senior local government officers.
“There remain further steps to promote greater transparency and accountability in local government, many of which councils themselves can willingly take.
“Many Welsh councils would do well to follow the example of Conservative-led Monmouthshire Council, which promotes public engagement in meetings and publishes all its expenditure over £1 to allow voters to properly hold councillors to account.”