Failure to address pay crisis puts future capability of the civil service at risk, says FDA

 Thursday 13 March 2014

(For immediate release)

Commenting on to the Government's response to the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) recommendations, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

"The Government is putting at risk the future capability of the civil service by refusing to reform pay.

“Once again the Government have ignored the evidence that shows huge long-term dissatisfaction with pay and a widening chasm between civil service pay levels and the rest of the economy. It is no longer the case that they are sleep walking into a disaster; the SSRB itself, the National Audit Office, the Civil Service Commission, the Public Administration Select Committee and the FDA have all highlighted evidence of growing discontent and the need for longer term reform.

“Our own survey of senior civil servants showed that nearly a third of top performers wanted to leave in the next 12 months on top of the 70% who are reporting they have seriously considered leaving in the last 12 months. The Governments own evidence shows that satisfaction levels with pay have dropped by nearly 20% over 5 years and pay levels are between 30% and 130% behind their private sector comparators.

“Britain cannot afford the long-term cost of a senior civil service that is stretched to breaking point and increasingly looking to leave.  The FDA urges the Government to recognise this and enter into serious talks about reform so the nation gets the world class civil service that civil servants want to provide."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 19,000 senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across Government and the NHS.

2. 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". 

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at

4. The FDA’s alternative White Paper - ‘Delivering for the Nation: Securing a World-Class Civil Service – outlining our analysis of the challenges facing the civil service and our recommendations for change, can be read here.

5. The FDA provided written and oral evidence to the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) to inform pay arrangements for the SCS in 2014. The written evidence can be viewed here. Our evidence, submitted jointly with Prospect, was informed by the survey of SCS members conducted in the autumn of 2013.

6. The Government submitted its evidence to the SSRB in January 2014.  This evidence can be downloaded here.

7. For further information contact:

  • Dave Penman, General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503 827.
  • Katie Lazell, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5588 or 07939 257 985.