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Compensation Scheme changes “a backwards step”

New Cabinet Office proposals for changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) are a “major backwards step” which will remove hard-won protections negotiated by unions last year, the FDA says.

The Cabinet Office published a consultation paper in September on fresh changes to the scheme – which determines redundancy pay and terms for all civil servants – after a legal challenge led by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) resulted in the 2016 scheme being overturned in the High Court.

Although highly critical of the Government’s decision to revisit the Compensation Scheme in 2016, the FDA and seven other unions had secured a range of concessions from the Cabinet Office on its original proposals. FDA members voted 89% in favour of accepting the final offer in a ballot late last year.

Rather than appeal against the High Court decision, the Cabinet Office is now seeking to reintroduce its original proposals, including capping voluntary exit and voluntary redundancy payments at 15 months’ salary, rather than the 18 months’ agreed last year. The consultation proposals also align compensation for exit on efficiency grounds to compulsory redundancy terms, meaning these payments are capped at nine months' salary with no early access to pension.

The Cabinet Office has meanwhile made clear that the costs of delay to current exit schemes – as well as the costs of recalculation – will have to be found from existing departmental budgets.

“This is a major backwards step. This new consultation proposes worse terms than those negotiated by the FDA and seven other unions last year, and removes a series of hard-won protections,” said FDA Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke.

“The FDA chose to take part in the 2016 negotiations to avoid the imposition of more stringent terms by the Government, securing a series of concessions in the final round of negotiations which have all now been dropped from these latest proposals.

“We are adamant that the new CSCS should be no worse than the reformed scheme which was agreed in good faith and was backed by 89% of our members in a ballot last year. We will be making robust representations to the Cabinet Office to honour the 2016 agreement.”
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