FDA calls on pay review body to act, as evidence shows rising inequality for senior civil servants

26 January 2016
(For immediate release)

Rising inequality between pay levels for external recruits against existing staff, an entrenched gender pay gap and up to a third of senior civil servants saying they want to leave: this is the picture painted by both the FDA and the Government's own evidence to the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).

In the FDA's evidence to the SSRB - the independent pay review body responsible for making recommendations for the UK's senior civil service - the union called for the same resolution to be applied as shown by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in its recommendations on Parliamentary salaries, which were accepted and implemented six months ago.

New starters from outside of the civil service can expect to be paid on average around £25,000 more than a civil servant promoted from within the service, and at some grades this rises to nearly £40,000 more on recruitment.

Even when they apply for externally advertised jobs, rarely are they given the starting salary an external recruit would have received.

It can be no wonder that 96% of those responding to the FDA's survey said they do not believe the current reward framework is fit for purpose.

In publishing the union's written evidence to the SSRB, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

"SCS salaries are around 25% lower than they were six years ago and more than a quarter of top performers want to leave the service as soon as possible.

"The Government's own research shows reward levels are between 50% and 75% lower within the civil service than comparable jobs in the private sector.

"The Government's approach of throwing money at new recruits from the private sector, while holding experienced civil servants down at the bottom of their pay scale, isn't working and is blocking efforts to resolve the ever present gender pay gap.

"Women constitute nearly 40% of the SCS workforce and are more likely to be assessed as 'top' performers, yet still, on average, earn more than £4,000 a year less than their male colleagues.

"This is why we are calling on the SSRB to propose a fundamental review of the SCS pay system and for the Government to commit to implementing those recommendations.

"When MPs' pay was realigned last year, the Prime Minister himself said: 'Personally I think the right thing to do is to be paid the rate for the job.' If that applies to MPs then it has to apply to civil servants."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA's evidence to the SSRB can be read here.

2. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

3. More about the FDA's 'New Government: New Deal' campaign can be found at www.fda.org.uk/New-Government-New-Deal

4. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

5. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.

6. For further information contact:

  • Dave Penman, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827.
  • Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07980 700747.