Departments 'must follow SCS pay guidance in full' after 2022 divergence, Cabinet Office warns

SSRB said it was “extremely concerned” by departments' divergence from its recommendations last year
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By Tevye Markson

21 Jul 2023

The Cabinet Office has warned departments they must follow this year’s senior civil service pay award framework in full after the pay review body for senior officials said it was “extremely concerned” by divergence from its recommendations last year.

The Senior Salaries Review Body said this meant some senior officials received a pay increase of less than 2%, which it added was neither its intention nor the Cabinet Office’s.

Last year, the Senior Salaries Review Body recommended an across-the-board increase of 3% for all senior civil servants in 2022-23, plus 0.5% to address pay anomalies and increase pay band minimums. The Cabinet Office instead decided to award a 2% rise for all senior officials plus 1% for anomalies and minimums.

However, the SSRB said in this year’s SCS pay report that it discovered some departments did not pay 2% across-the-board increase to all SCS members, but instead paid a flat-rate cash increase that was worth more than 2% to those lower in the pay band but less than 2% to those higher up.

“This was not the intention of our pay recommendation, or the Cabinet Office pay guidance,” the SSRB report said.

“The additional anomalies budget should have been used to provide this kind of differentiation. We are extremely concerned that our recommendation of a 3% basic pay award should have resulted in some members of the SCS receiving a pay uplift of below 2%.”

This year, ministers have accepted the SSRB’s recommendations in full: a 5.5% across-the-board rise plus 1% for progression increases for those lower in the pay ranges who are "delivering and demonstrating expertise".

In guidance on the pay framework and award for 2023-24 published on Tuesday, the Cabinet Office made clear that this year’s deal must be applied fully by departments.

“We are being explicit on the expectation about how the award is implemented across the SCS for both the base pay increases and the targeting of pay anomalies,” the Cabinet Office document says.

“All civil service organisations must apply the pay award for their SCS consistently.”

The Cabinet Office also said following the framework would be "a step towards a better start-off point for capability-based pay" and so "it is critical that we follow the advice and recommendations of the SSRB".


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