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Joint Personnel Administration

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular and (b) reserve army personnel have failed to be fully paid by the army personnel centre since the implementation of Pay 2000; what the total of the underpayments is; what assessment he has made of the reasons for the underpayments; whether he expects all payments to be made prior to the roll-out of joint personnel administration; and if he will make a statement. (79650)

Pay 2000 is the generic term used to describe the incremental pay system for armed forces personnel. It arose as a consequence of the recommendations made in the independent review conducted by Sir Michael Bett in 1995, and was introduced in April 2001 for regular personnel, and November 2002 for reservists.

Some 14,160 regular and reserve army personnel have been either under, or overpaid electronically at some time since, and as a result of the implementation of Pay 2000. The number of pay accounts in need of rectification was reduced to some 8,900 during 2004-05, and this figure has been reduced further to some 1,000 during 2006. I am confident that the remaining 1,000 pay accounts will be rectified prior to the roll-out of joint personnel administration to the army.

Arrangements ensure that any shortfalls are paid manually at unit level. The primary causes of the problem have been late changes in the interpretation of policy, computer programming difficulties and the ageing army computer systems.

The total amount of electronic underpayments could only be provided at disproportionate cost.