Fire chief given £12,000 pay rise despite being under investigation

The South Wales Fire Authority, which oversees the South Wales Fire Service, have voted unanimously to give the Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway a pay rise of £12,000 taking his salary to almost £170,000 - above that of the Prime Minister. There was no mention at the meeting of the fact he is under investigation.

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 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 interview with ITV News.

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

His pay rise will also boost his pension, along with that of the rest of the senior team.

A serving firefighter said: “This shows utter contempt for victims of sexual abuse, the public and taxpayer money, a total lack of governance and scrutiny. I’m disgusted these councillors represent the service and that the majority wear the rosette of the Labour Party.”

Responding to ITV News' request for comment, Fire and Rescue Authority Chairperson, Councillor Steve Bradwick, said: "Prior to 2022, pay levels for senior staff had not been reviewed since 2004 and were found to be lagging behind those of other comparable services.

"The Authority recognises there is never a right time to review senior salaries, however, we feel it is important to address pay disparities which have occurred over a significant period of time.

"The approach to reviewing the Chief Fire Officer’s pay is set out in the South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority’s (SWFRA) Pay Policy Statement. The independent review of pay has undergone rigorous scrutiny at the HR & Equalities Committee and following this, the Authority today reviewed the report's recommendations to increase Principal Officer pay by 7.81%, alongside the recommendation to align pay at Head of Service level and has accepted the recommendation.

"The Authority will always consider the needs of the Service, ensuring it is in the best place to attract and retain the best talent to protect the communities of South Wales.” "The Authority and the Service believe in fair and proportionate pay for all staff. Firefighter pay is set at a national level and in March this year, 96% of Fire Brigades Union members voted to accept the pay offer of 7% backdated to July 2022, plus an additional 5% from July 2023. This year the Service was also accredited as a Living Wage Employer.”

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