Normington calls for pay flexibility to attract top talent

Government must be prepared to pay higher salaries and consider more effective systems of performance related pay if it is to attract top talent from the private and wider public sectors, first civil service commissioner Sir David Normington told the Public Administration Select Committee today.

By Suzannah.Brecknell

13 Feb 2013

Normington said  that in order to attract staff with the skills that the civil service needs, “government needs to change the whole way it thinks about attracting those people.”

“If you need to go to the market to recruit the skills and capability that you haven’t got in the civil service then you will have to have flexibility, and the pay cap [which means civil servants cannot be paid more than the Prime Minister without Treasury approval] is a barrier,” he said.

Normington also suggested that government should look at how it can structure pay packages to reward successful performance “so that [individuals] are incentivised to stay in the role, and to get their main pay when they have delivered something”. He agreed to prepare a paper looking at the issues of attracting and retaining the necessary skills within the civil service for the PASC.

A full report of the session will be published in next week’s Civil Service World  on Wednesday 20 February.

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