BOURNEMOUTH, Christchurch and Poole Council's top job is being advertised with an annual salary of “circa £180,000”.

The shadow authority has begun advertising for the chief executive position ahead of the formation of the new council next year.

At the first ever meeting of the shadow executive committee last month, its members agreed to start the recruitment process with the aim of having an appointment made in late 2018 or early 2019.

A pay guide for the role was put together following recommendations from the Local Government Association and recruitment consultancy Penna which recommended a salary of between £160,000-£180,000 – a similar level to what is being considered for the position at the new Dorset Council.

In a description of the role published online, the position is described as “an incredible opportunity”

“As our chief executive, you’ll be responsible for improving our residents’ quality of life,” it says.

“You’ll do this by providing outstanding strategic and organisational leadership, creating, embedding and sustaining the new council.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to continue to drive our digital agenda to forge new, customer-centric operating models.”

The salary would make the new chief executive one of the highest-paid council officers in the South West with the average salary for the position in 2014/15 just over £150,000.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said that whoever took up the role would have to prove that they are worth the salary.

“Council executive pay is generally too high in the UK and the holder of this new post must work very hard to prove that they are worth anything like it,” he said.

“Taxpayers are fed up of council tax shooting up every year, seemingly to pay exorbitant remuneration, because don’t forget this chief executive will be receiving a very generous pension on top of their salary.

“It may be more difficult to run a new unitary authority for a few years than an existing body but why not link the pay to performance?”

Interviews with candidates for the position are due to be interviewed in September before a final appointment is made.