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Departmental Information Officers

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department paid in bonuses to press and communication officers in each of the last 10 years; and what the (a) highest and (b) lowest such bonus was in each of those years. (182719)

The Department does not have a ‘communication officer’ grade or job title so the figures provided are for press officers. Some officers in Directorates other than Communications have some media, press or communications liaison responsibility, but this is not recorded in a consistent or economically retrievable form. Figures given as follows are therefore for the communications Directorate alone. The figures for 2003-04 are estimates. Figures are given for complete financial years.

£

Financial year

Special bonus total

Senior civil servant (SCS) bonus total

Total bonuses

Maximum bonus

Minimum bonus

2006-07

2,700.00

4,577.00

7,277.00

4,577.00

1,000.00

2005-06

1,000.00

7,850.00

8,850.00

7,850.00

250.00

2004-05

1,311.50

6,859.00

8,170.50

6,859.00

111.50

2003-04

3,000.00

0.00

3,000.00

500.00

500.00

The Department changed its payroll provider in 2003-04. Information on performance bonus payments prior to 2004-05 is available only from individual payslips. To retrieve this information would therefore involve disproportionate cost.

The figures provided include bonuses paid to press officers who are Senior Civil Servants under pay arrangements common across the civil service and special bonuses paid to press officers under schemes operated by the Department and its Agencies.

Senior Civil Service bonuses reward excellent performance during the year, on the basis of a judgment of how well people perform relative to their peers. This covers the extent to which objectives are met and how they are achieved, and has regard to how leadership behaviours and professional skills are demonstrated and how stretching objectives are.

Special bonuses are awarded for a number of different reasons. The most common of these are an outstanding contribution in a particularly demanding situation, job loading becoming temporarily very heavy, a high level of commitment and resolution to get a job done, special efforts to produce results, cover for a high level of absence, and a contribution over and above what would normally be expected for the job and of the person or team concerned. Special bonuses can be paid either to individuals or to a group or team of staff at any point in the year, and only for additional duties undertaken which will not be recognised through annual pay awards.