The 36th report of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) is being published today. This makes recommendations about the pay of the senior civil service (SCS), senior military officers, the judiciary, very senior NHS managers and police and crime commissioners. Copies have been laid in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the review body for their work on this year’s report.
While we are mindful of the need to ensure that we are able to recruit, retain and motivate staff with the right skills and experience, it is important that senior public servants continue to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.
Senior Civil Service
The Government have accepted the PRB’s recommendations to introduce a new reward principle and to take a more mandatory approach towards exit interviews which will provide valuable information to inform reward and wider work force strategy. The Government have also accepted the recommendations on raising minimum salaries for SCS pay bands 1, 2 and 3 which will reduce overlaps between delegated grades and SCSI and across SCS pay bands.
The Government have not accepted the recommendation to give SCS a uniform pay increase to all staff (except the bottom 10% of performers) and the recommendation to restore the previous caps on the size of individual non-consolidated performance awards. These recommendations do not give Departments the flexibility they require to tailor reward arrangements that meet their own business needs.
This package of proposals for 2014-15 strikes the right balance between necessary pay restraint and the need to recruit and retain people of the right calibre. It gives Departments flexibility to target pay increases within the 1% average award, enable them to reward outstanding performance and help them to recruit and retain people in business critical roles.
Ministers will consider the PRB’s recommendations for raising the minima of the permanent secretary pay tiers taking account of the views of the Permanent Secretary Remuneration Committee as part of its consideration of the 2014-15 pay award for permanent secretaries.
Senior Military Officers
The Government have accepted the recommendation of a 1% increase to base military salaries for all 2, 3 and 4 star officers with effect from 1 April 2014.
The Government have accepted the recommendation that there is no change to current pay arrangements for medical and dental officers.
The Government have accepted the recommendation that for future pay rounds the MOD further develops its database on Army officers with the potential to serve in the senior ranks and expands it to cover each of the services.
The Government have accepted the review body’s recommendation that the salaries of the judiciary should be increased by 1%.
Due to the continuing fiscal challenge and broader public sector pay policy it has not been appropriate to respond to the SSRB’s latest recommendations about the major review. The Government note the proposals and while they will not be able to respond at this time, the proposals will be considered in partnership with the judiciary as we develop a broader judicial strategy.
Very Senior NHS Managers
The SSRB has recommended that the pay of very senior managers be increased by 1%. The Government are not able to accept this recommendation. We believe that as system leaders, very senior managers must set an example of pay restraint and also that their pay should be subject to greater restraint than that of staff delivering front-line NHS services. In the view of the Government, this can be achieved only by a zero pay award in 2014-15.
I am also grateful to the SSRB for their other observations on the pay system for very senior managers and in particular welcome their support for the review of the VSM pay framework the Department of Health will undertake in 2014 in partnership with its arm’s-length bodies.
Police and Crime Commissioners
The Government have accepted the recommendation that the rates of pay for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) should remain unchanged for 2014-15.
The Government have not accepted the recommendation that the Home Office should review the rules and guidance relating to PCC expenses. However, we will continue to work with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure PCC expense arrangements are clear.
Other Review Body Reports for 2013-14
Separate statements from the Secretaries of State for Justice, Health and Defence will also be laid today on the reports of the Prison Service Pay Review Body, the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body, the NHS Pay Review Body and the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body in respect of pay for the relevant work forces for 2014-15. The Government’s response to those reports are consistent with the need for senior public servants to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.