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Departmental Pay

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many bonuses to staff were paid by his Department in each year since 1998; how much was so paid in each year; and for what purposes these bonuses were awarded. (248728)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in 2001 as a result of machinery of government changes. Therefore it is only possible to provide the information requested from the 2002-03 financial year, which is when pay arrangements including those for bonuses were harmonised for all DWP employees.

End of Year Performance Bonuses

DWP employees below the senior civil service are eligible for an annual individual performance bonus if they attain a ‘Top’, ‘Higher’ or ‘Majority’ rating under the annual performance and development system. The bonus awarded is determined by the employee’s pay band and the performance level achieved.

For the senior civil service, end of year bonuses are determined by the relevant DWP SCS Pay Committee.

* Performance awards from the year 2007-08 were payable in July of the financial year 2008-09. A total of £23.32 million has been paid. This is broken down as follows:

Table 1: Department Total

Financial year

Total number of recipients

Total paid (£ million)

2002-03

131,776

30.82

2003-04

106,123

25.29

2004-05

129,855

36.61

2005-06

123,825

42.82

2006-07

116,096

40.68

2007-08*

111,943

36.61

2008-09

107,726

23.32

Table 2: Total below SCS

Financial year

Total number of recipients

Total paid (£ million)

2002-03

131,666

30.23

2003-04

105,997

24.58

2004-05

129,648

35.64

2005-06

123,620

41.43

2006-07

115,896

39.01

2007-08

111,741

34.88

2008-09

107,518

21.50

Table 3: Total SCS

Financial year

Total number of recipients

Total paid (£ million)

2002-03

110

0.59

2003-04

126

0.71

2004-05

207

0.97

2005-06

205

1.39

2006-07

200

1.67

2007-08

202

1.73

2008-09

208

1.82

Notes:

1. The information in tables 1 and 2 is based on the number of employees recorded on the DWP payroll systems as having received a qualifying performance mark. These are headcount.

2. Some individuals may have received more than one type of bonus payment in the year, which is why the information has been presented separately and not as an aggregated total.

3. The performance bonus is paid in the financial year following the performance year of 1 April to 31 March.

4. The total amount paid includes employers national insurance contribution (ERNIC).

5. In-year cash bonus data was previously held on a separate IT system. Data from this system can only be obtained from a third party and there would be a cost ascribed to this provision. This would bring the cost of answering this PQ to above the threshold considered proportionate.

Special Bonus and Voucher Payments

Individuals may also be entitled to special bonus payments either as cash or retail vouchers. These are one-off recognition awards, payable at any time during the performance year and are not linked to the annual pay award. Payments are made to recognise exceptional achievements beyond what would normally be expected.

The cost for voucher payments was £0.9 million in 2006-07 (14,392 vouchers issued), £1.77 million in 2007-08 (31,237 vouchers were issued) and £1.03 million in 2008-09 (28,869 vouchers issued). Some individuals might have received more than one voucher.

It is not possible to provide separate data for in-year cash bonuses across three years. However, based on 2007-08 payments, the cost in a typical year is around £2.7 million paid to approximately 11,250 individuals.

These figures are the best available.