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Tuesday 18 July 2017

Senior Civil Service pay review will only succeed if ministers ditch 1% cap, says FDA

The 1% public sector pay “straitjacket” must end if the Government’s newly-announced review of Senior Civil Service pay is to have any impact, the FDA union has said.

Ministers today published their response to the latest Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) report, which gives quasi-independent advice to the Government on the pay award received by Senior Civil Servants, the judiciary, senior armed forces officers and other senior public servants. The review’s remit is set by ministers who have again stated that the Treasury will only fund average pay rises of 1% - despite inflation now running at 2.6%.

The SSRB considered evidence from Government and unions led by the FDA, and its latest report has now been published alongside a response from ministers.

Reacting to the publication, the FDA’s Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke said:

“We welcome the Government’s belated acceptance of the need to review the pay of senior civil servants and look forward to discussing this with them. What should be abundantly clear is that this cannot be achieved within a 1% straitjacket. Reform of SCS pay needs to be fully funded and it needs to happen soon – the current government pay policy is failing and is doing so in way that costs civil servants and costs the public dear.

“Despite recent talk of a public sector pay ‘premium’ when compared with the private sector, the SSRB’s report shows that the pay of our members – who do some of the most complex and vital jobs in public service – ‘lags significantly behind the private sector’, causing recruitment and retention problems in a number of areas.

“In fact, the Government's figures show that the bulk of the Senior Civil Service - Deputy Directors - are almost £14,000 a year worse off than they were in 2010, and now earn 46% less than their private sector counterparts5 – even when pensions are taken into account.

“That gap rises to a staggering 71% at Director-level. It’s little wonder, then, that more than half of those leaving the Senior Civil Service last year blamed pay for their exit and one in four recruitment exercises is unsuccessful6.

“Our members have delivered billions of pounds of savings over the past seven years and now face the most complicated political challenge since the Second World War in the form of Brexit. Yet they’ve been rewarded with rapidly escalating costs just to stand still, ever-greater workloads, and ministerial pressure to deliver with the smallest workforce since the 1940s.

“If ministers really want the ‘brightest and best’ staff for the challenges ahead, they must tackle fundamental issues with Senior Civil Service pay. They could start by ditching the 1% cap, ending the divisive practice of paying internal promotes less than the advertised salary, and properly engaging with staff at a time when their expertise will be needed more than ever.”
Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals at grade HEO and above. FDA membership includes more than 18,000 senior civil servants, diplomats, Government policy advisors, prosecutors, 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 full SSRB report is available here, and the Government’s response has been published here.
4. The FDA’s submission to the SSRB is available here.
5. Source: Senior Civil Service Data in Support of Government Evidence to the Senior Salaries Review Body.
6. Source: National Audit Office, Capability in the Civil Service.
7. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.
8. For further information contact the FDA Communications team on 020 7401 5589.
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