John Manzoni: Pay cap ‘can’t last forever’

Written by Jim Dunton on 14 July 2017 in News
News

Civil service chief exec says he and colleagues are "very conscious" of the 1% cap on pay rises, and suggests officials could see a more regionalised and role-related approach to increases

John Manzoni Credit: Cabinet Office

The civil service’s chief executive has admitted that the brake applied to Whitehall pay rises seven years ago will have to be released at some point.

John Manzoni told a session at this week’s Civil Service Live conference that he and perm sec counterparts were very aware that most staff had seen their pay frozen from 2010-2012 and had annual rises capped at 1% for the subsequent five years.

“Personally, I don’t think it can go on for ever, but it is fair to say that we’re very conscious of it and we need to be continuously alert to it,” he told the event, which is organised by the Cabinet Office and CSW’s parent company, Dods.


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However he also suggested that any future relaxing of constraints on pay could take a more fragmented form than merely increasing the level at which the cap is set.

Manzoni said that while civil service pay levels were a problem, there were parts of the country where its pay and reward offer was “very competitive”.

“We’ve got to think regionally at some stage,” he said.

Manzoni also referred to existing examples of the pay cap having been broken in return for concessions from staff on working hours and location, such as at the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs.

But he cautioned that the public sector would never be able to compete with the private sector offer in many areas.

“So, therefore, we’ve got to work on the importance of the job; we’ve got to work on the flexibilities of the employment terms and conditions,” he said.

“We’re excellent, I think, in allowing people flexibility in the way that they work – more so than the private sector, having spent most of my life in the private sector.”

Last month, MP-turned-chief-of-staff to the prime minister Gavin Barwell blamed the public sector pay cap for the Conservative Party’s disastrous general election result, while cabinet members Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been among those calling for a rethink.

But speaking at the same session as Manzoni on Wednesday, cabinet secretary and civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood struck a note of caution.

“This is not an issue that we are ignoring,” he said.

“We want the civil service to be treated fairly – that’s our job. We discuss this quite frequently, particularly as inflation has ticked up.

“But obviously [...] we’ve got to be part of the government’s pay policy. We can’t just declare UDI and do our own thing because we’re part of a broader public sector.”

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William (MOD) (not verified)

Submitted on 14 July, 2017 - 12:01
Mr Manzoni, I'm sure I speak for all civil servants when I say - I am glad that you and the senior board are not ignoring the pay restraint and are talking about it. However, this article is very short on detail on what you intend to do about trying to rebuild the collapsed morale and the staff shortages. I am also aware that the senior civil service management have to work under the mandate of the Government, and they cheered when they voted to maintain the 1% cap on public sector pay. How will you work round that attitude?

Winston Smith (not verified)

Submitted on 14 July, 2017 - 14:04
"Oh, yes, it can!"

I just don't be... (not verified)

Submitted on 14 July, 2017 - 14:21
the pay cap having been broken in return for concessions from staff on working hours and location, such as at the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs. - the only thing broken is my spirit (I work at HMRC and I've not seen this). We’ve got to think regionally at some stage, - not this again the Hay report showed this was bad idea We want the civil service to be treated fairly – that’s our job. We discuss this quite frequently, particularly as inflation has ticked up - talk is cheap and it doesn't pay my bills!

Ste (HMRC) (not verified)

Submitted on 14 July, 2017 - 17:54
This is pretty rich - to put it mildly! Only last year this man appeared in these pages celebrating the - quite outrageous - government redundancy pay cuts as a method to "simplify the exit process, while treating our employees respectfully and fairly" whilst representing “a fairer deal for civil servants”. As a wise man once said: You couldn't make it up! http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/john-manzoni-redundancy-offer-fairer-deal-civil-servants

Susan2 (not verified)

Submitted on 17 July, 2017 - 11:56
And what makes it even worse is ... how much increase to their salary did the MPs get???????

William (MOD) (not verified)

Submitted on 17 July, 2017 - 11:49
Afraid I am a bit confused and would like to ask for some clarification to some points - 1. Mr Manzoni said that “civil service pay levels are a problem”, but the chancellor is quoted as saying civil servants are overpaid. What is it? 2. You said the pay restraint “will have to be released at some point”. Any idea when I might get a rise even close to the rate of inflation? 3. I agree, the civil service is excellent at flexibility in the workplace – but it is not the only employer to do so. Many of the suppliers I deal with have flexi-time, home working, child care facilities and more. 4. You said you “want the civil service to be treated fairly” and “that’s your job”. Sorry – the “we’re all in this together” but your pay rise is going to be a tenth of ours doesn’t cut it and the drop in take home doesn’t feel very fair.

Wage Slave (not verified)

Submitted on 17 July, 2017 - 12:36
And Mr Manzoni would know: https://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/%E2%80%9Chigh-earners%E2%80%9D-data-shows-no-2016-pay-rises-manzoni-or-heywood. Check out the last post in the comments section: .....Sir Jeremy has had no rise but Mr Manzoni's pay went from £190K in 2014 to £230K in 2015 (floor figures used) That is an increase of 21%. As with MOST Civil Servants, between 2014 and 2015 my pay went up 0.89%, then in 2016 my National Insurance went up 1.6%. In 2016 I got a double enhancement in my pay rise because the MOD cannot recruit and retain engineers and my PAR marking - I got 1.53%. That's a bit less than 21%, is there a reason that rise was given and not mentioned in this article?

MOD CS (not verified)

Submitted on 25 July, 2017 - 18:12
Well, it's lasted another year - 0.7% for us. ACTUAL REDUCTION if you're on the max.

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