Senior civil servants to get 2% wage rise as public sector pay deals unveiled

Government also confirms delegated grades will allow departments to make awards within 1.5%-2.5% range
HM Treasury. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

By Richard Johnstone

21 Jul 2020

Senior civil servants are set to receive a 2% pay increase this year, the Treasury has announced as it set out the 2019-20 deals for a host of public servants.

The awards, which are all above inflation, are in line with the findings of independent pay bodies that provide pay recommendations to ministers for around 900,000 public servants.

The reports have not yet been published in full, but the Treasury announcement said the government had “accepted the headline recommended rise for each workforce”, including that of the Senior Salaries Review Body for high-level civil servants.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was "right" that the Treasury accept the recommendations of the independent pay bodies given that “our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them”.

This response to the coronavirus outbreak had emphasised this contribution, he said.

The largest pay award has been made to teachers and doctors, who will receive 3.1% and 2.8% respectively.

Police and prison officers will both have a 2.5% rise in pay, while 2% increases have also been awarded to the armed forces, including senior military figures, and the judiciary.

The announcement also reiterated that the delegated pay guidance for departments, which sets out the pay framework for civil servants below the SCS, would recommend average pay awards of between 1.5% and 2.5%. The guidance published in May.

Responding to the announcement, FDA assistant general secretary Lucille Thirlby said that she welcomed the SSRB report, but called on the government to do more to implement the recommendations.

"The government’s own evidence called for an SCS with world-class capability: to maintain and increase this it must allocate greater funding, invest in its senior leaders and resolve the long-term issues of a lack of pay progression and low confidence, both in the performance management system and morale," she said.

“Despite the focus of the Cabinet Office on delivering a robust pay progression system - after years of the unions and SSRB calling for this - we are concerned that we are yet to see the detail on how the proposed capability-based approach will operate.

“There is no legitimate reason for the lack of progress on a structural reform other than lack of political will from government. At a time when the country is relying on the senior civil service like never before, the case for reform has been made and the time for action is now.”

Garry Graham, Prospect trade union's deputy general secretary, welcomed the government's acceptance of the SSRB recommendations.

“Government is right to highlight the importance of pay progression and the need for a system to be implemented which is open and transparent. This holds both for the senior civil service and the grades that sit below it," he said.

“The lack of meaningful pay progression has brought pay systems into disrepute and needs urgent action.”

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