The highest paid government IT director, Joe Harley, earned at least £12,500 in performance-related pay last year. Harley, IT director general and CIO of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was revealed to earn nearly double the salary of the prime minister (£142,500) in a list published by the Cabinet Office when the new coalition government came to power.

Although the Cabinet Office’s list showed that Harley earned a salary of up to £249,999, new government salary figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed that he earned £262,500 in 2009/10, around five percent more than previously thought. However, a spokesperson for the DWP said that the initial Cabinet Office figures “did not include performance-related payments, such as bonuses”.

The Bureau’s public sector pay database, released yesterday, showed that 9,187 government workers earn more than Prime Minister David Cameron, with more than 38,000 government workers being paid over £100,000.

Harley was listed as being fifth in the table of top 10 central government salaries. Another significant earner was Ailsa Beaton, director of information at the Metropolitan Police Service. She came tenth in the top 10 police pay packets, with a salary of £189,895. Beaton’s salary also stands out because the database revealed that only one in five public sector workers paid more than £100,000 are women. Among public sector workers paid more than £100,000 only one in five are women.

According to the database, the highest paid public sector worker is Mark Thompson, the director-general of the BBC, who was paid £838,000 last year. Highly-paid GPs also feature prominently, as well as other NHS employees, police chiefs and quango directors.

The UNISON union condemned pay levels for some top public sector employees. “There will be many more in the private sector who earn much more than this,” said Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON. “However, the majority of public sector workers will never get anywhere near these salaries.”