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Bonuses for civil service fast streamers have been reduced, despite officials in the scheme playing a key role in government’s preparation for Brexit, the FDA trade union has revealed.
The union told CSW that cuts to the performance awards for the around 1,300 graduates who enter the fast stream programme, which is intended to create future leaders for the civil service, every year risked taking some of the government's best and brightest recruits for granted.
In 2018, those who “exceeded” expectations and objectives received a £1,123 bonus, while those who “met” them got £385.
Under the revised structure, those who exceed expectations will be given only £963. “High performers” will receive £385, while a third category of “achievers” will only get £160 – a potential reduction of £225 from last year, although the number of people who receive the awards will not be known until next year.
The FDA’s fast stream committee called on the Cabinet Office to reassess the approach.
In an email to members, the committee said: “This is particularly disappointing for those on the second year of the scheme, many of whom will have gone 'above and beyond' in their first year on the scheme in demanding, EU exit-critical roles only to find that they now have been rewarded with what is in effect a pay cut.
“At a time when the civil service is faced with delivering the biggest national challenge since the Second World War, and Fast Stream civil servants in particular have had extraordinary demands made of them, the decision to devalue the performance awards is unacceptable. It is devaluing dedicated public servants.”
FDA national officer Steven Littlewood said that the government needs the skills, energy and commitment of fast streamers to deliver Brexit.
“Taking these civil servants for granted is poor policy and cutting their performance awards is a false economy. The minimal saving are not worth the morale cost. The government needs to rethink its strategy and stop gambling with fast streamers’ good will.”
The bonus blow to fast stream officials comes after the FDA revealed in March that two-thirds of fast streamers are so unhappy with their pay that they have “seriously considered” quitting the hugely sought-after programme.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson told CSW: “This pay award was negotiated with trade unions.
“Fast streamers enjoy many of the civil service benefits on offer and their pay is currently being reviewed, which the unions are being engaged on.”