SEVENTEEN staff members at Dorset Council are paid more than £100,000, the annual Taxpayer's Alliance report has revealed.

The 2021 report published by the alliance shows that 17 staff members at Dorset Council received more than £100,000 in total remuneration in 2019/20 - including six who received more than £150,000.

The average number of employees who received more than £100,000 per local authority in England in that time period is seven and the average number who received more than £150,000 is 1.7 employees per council.

Total remuneration includes salary, benefits in kind, bonuses and pension contributions.

Chief executive of Dorset Council Matt Prosser was paid the most in the council area, with earnings of £200,000 plus a £27,000 pension - bringing his total for the year to £227,000.

Theresa Leavy, executive director of people - children, received a salary of £147,000 and a pension of £16,000 taking her total earnings for the year to £163,000.

With a total income of £162,000, the executive director of people - adults, Vivienne Broadhurst, received a salary of £140,000 plus a £22,000 pension.

Sam Crowe, director of public health, was paid a salary of £124,000 plus a £20,000 pension, taking his total earnings to £144,000 for the year.

In the report, the Taxpayers Alliance states that it is 18 staff members who received more than £100,000, however, Dorset Council has confirmed it is 17.

Councillor Peter Wharf, portfolio holder for corporate development and change, said: "We have worked hard in recent years to reduce the council’s pay bill and use those savings to invest in essential services for residents. Since the formation of Dorset Council we have streamlined senior management and significantly reduced staffing costs.

"Through the Local Government Reorganisation process we reduced the number of chief executive officers from four to one and removed 114 posts at Service Manager level and above (the top four tiers). This produced savings of £7m in a full year and will continue to do so every year thereafter.

"Dorset Council is a large and complex organisation. Our directors and senior leaders are responsible for delivering over 450 services to 380,000 residents, managing over 4,500 employees and a budget of over £300m.

"Councillors considered salaries for senior leaders in early 2019, ensuring salaries were bench-marked independently of the council. This piece of work compared salaries regionally and nationally. We have a strong senior leadership team and trust in their abilities to lead and deliver the ambitions of this council."

In total, 2,802 people employed by local authorities in England in 2019/20 received more than £100,000 ion total remuneration, 693 of whom received more than £150,000. This is the highest level since 2013/14.