Fire chief in line for £12,000 pay rise despite being under investigation

Huw Jakeway. Credit: ITV News

The Chief Fire Officer of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is likely to be given a 7.8% pay rise despite his service being the subject of a major review into sexual misconduct.

Huw Jakeway could see his pay rise to £169,574 this year, an increase of more than £12,000.

His service is currently undergoing an external cultural review, following claims of sexual harassment and abuse of women by its firefighters.

Last month, ITV News revealed that Mr Jakeway is himself the subject of a separate investigation into whether he was untruthful about what he knew in relation to one of the cases during an ITV interview.

Now, an external consultancy has recommended that the Chief Fire Officer receive a substantial pay rise, on top of the 4.5% rise he received last year.

A decision on pay will be taken on Monday September 25 when the South Wales Fire Authority - which oversees the service - holds a meeting. 

Huw Jakeway - who sits on the Fire Authority - will excuse himself from the discussion about his salary. 

A similar rise is also proposed for other senior officers, costing the public service more than £80,000 in total. 

ITV News understands that the proposal to increase his pay has angered frontline staff, who have been airing their concerns about workplace culture to Fenella Morris KC.

Her review into South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is due to be published by the end of the year - after any pay offer has been confirmed.

In December, ITV News revealed that one woman had been sexually harassed by a serving South Wales firefighter who was allowed to remain in the service.

Another firefighter had also been allowed to keep his job despite being convicted of domestic violence.

Alun Cairns, Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, whose constituency falls within the South Wales Fire Service area, criticised the proposed rise.

He told ITV News: "This is a surprising increase at best and shocking, considering the questions, investigations and judgements that he has made.

"There will be many front line firefighters and staff angry about this. Not only will there be an inflation busting pay rise but the pension benefits will be significant too."

Tristan Ashby from the fire service union, FRSA, told ITV News: "The timing of this recommendation isn't good, one would hope that public perception is taken into account and that the uplift is either deferred, pending the publication of the culture review or the senior leadership team decline the increase.

"For pay increases at the highest level of management within the service, there should be a correlation to performance, it doesn't feel appropriate for such an increase at this time when the service is in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons."

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