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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Staff Bonuses

Volume 687: debated on Monday 18 December 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs, Mr Barry Gardiner, on 6 November (HC Deb, 705W) and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care Services, Mr Ivan Lewis, on 8 November (HC Deb, 1877W), on what basis bonuses are awarded to staff in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; why the average award has risen from £350 in November 2004 to £1,746 in November; how often the formulae used have resulted in bonuses over £9,999; and why the department has a highest award of £34,000 compared with maxima in the Department of Health of £22,500 in 2004–05 and £30,000 in 2005–06. [HL652]

For the basis of bonuses awarded to staff in Defra, I refer the noble Baroness to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Barry Gardiner, to my honourable friend Keith Vaz on 27 November, (Official Report, Commons, col. 286W).

The average award is lower within the statistics provided for the period November 2004 to March 2005 for two reasons. For staff at grade 6 and below, the data for this period only include in-year performance bonuses. Annual performance bonuses—which have a higher individual value—would have been paid prior to this date within the financial year. For the period April 2006 to November 2006, for staff at grade 6 and below, the number of staff receiving the annual performance bonus reduced from 25 per cent of staff to the top 10 per cent of performers. The amount of funds allocated for the annual bonus remained constant and individual bonus amounts therefore increased.

There were no bonuses above £9,999 paid to staff at grade 6 or below.

There were a total of 45 bonuses over and above £9,999 paid to SCS staff in 2005 and 2006. One bonus of £34,040 was paid to a specialist employed on a fixed-term contract to manage a specific project. The bonus amount was a condition of the contract and was dependent on successful delivery of targets. For permanent SCS staff, the highest bonus paid was £15,000 which was paid to three staff. The remaining 41 received £10,500.