Reps Briefing Pay 2019

This is a detailed briefing for Reps to use in discussions with members about Pay 2019.  There is also a “Pay FAQ” document hoping to provide answers to the commonly asked questions.  There is an overlap of information between this document and the FAQ document.

Background

Pay in the Civil Service is negotiated separately for each department; but not separated further within departments other than where some areas are covered by a separate pay review body.  So the pay settlement is for the whole of the Home Office, excluding Senior Civil Service which has a different arrangement, and the Police.

Until 2013 Home Office staff benefited from a pay agreement which included a contractual right to pay progression.  In 2011 and 2012 the department attempted to end that and both times the ISU, with FDA and Prospect, brought legal claims to protect the rights of members. By 2013 Home Office made a pay offer which brought contractual pay progression to an end.  PCS accepted the initial offer but FDA and ISU members voted against it.  An improved offer was secured and on the second ballot the majority of members voted to accept the offer and end contractual pay progression.

Since that time there has been no right to pay progression at all, something keenly felt by staff retaining legacy allowances.  Civil Service pay restraint has been in place since 2010 and limited pay rises to an average of 1%.

How the pay deal is calculated.

Every year the Treasury sets a remit for Government departments.  This covers the amount the Treasury will fund (usually 1%), the options which departments might use to try to fund further rises and an absolute cap.  Departments can make a business case to Treasury to allow a higher rise specifically to achieve Civil Service Modernisation; for example this is what happened in 2013 when the offer was raised to buy out the right to pay progression.  Departments can also fund a level of additional rise from internal saving, from restructuring other non-contractual elements of reward etc.

Once the overall budget is reached Departmental side negotiators with the Departmental Board set the priorities.  In Home Office this tends to focus on minimum wage compliance and on shortening the pay ranges for EO to G6.  There is also a spotlight on seeking to address the huge range of allowances available.

Negotiations begin.

In strict technical terms this is in fact a consultation as there is no longer any requirement for a Trade Union to accept the pay offer; as long as there are no detrimental changes to contract.  The right to strike is maintained of course, but with the ISU rarely used and other unions were not able to obtain the threshold for action.

The Department met with the ISU back in February to hear what priorities we put on the Pay round.  Some of this is entirely predictable – we need a pay rise of at least 8 – 10% to make up for the year on year real time loss for example.  We ask for that, but we also accept the reality that HO must work within the Treasury remit and sums like that are just not on the table.  We also focus on the proper reward for staff in operational arm so we look for things like uplifts to AHW percentages, TCA and HRA, lifting overtime caps etc.  This year we also sought a more equitable and suitable means of rewarding staff for shift work. 

The Treasury Remit is received usually around financial year end.  This goes to the board and finally comes out to the Trade Unions in the form of a draft Offer.  The ISU team met with HO on several occasions through June and July.  We asked for various permutations to be modelled – this means applying different calculations to the pay data to see what the result is.  For example we looked at the impact on shortening the ranges to 13% or 14%.  We look at what will benefit the majority of our membership the most and feed that preference back to the department who either accept it or not.

During this time the details are held strictly as negotiations in confidence.  This enables the Department and Trade Unions to explore various options freely.  At this point only the ISU NEC is aware of the details.

The offer arrives

Once the negotiation phase concludes a formal offer is made to the Trade Unions and published to staff within hours.  There is then a 28 day phase where Unions can meet with their members to discuss the offer. 

And it is paid…

The Common date for the CS pay round is 1st July.  This date is almost never met usually because of delays either in receiving the remit at all or in the Board making their decisions.  Where the payment date is later the offer is “backdated” – the sums missed from preceding months paid all in one go.  The aim is to pay this in the October salaries.

 

What this specific offer means….

There are 3 main elements to this offer, and the order in which they are applied makes a difference to the sum eventually received.  We will look at each stage in detail.

Spot rate vs range?

For ISU members base pay is either a spot rate (AAs and AOs) or a range (EOs and above.)  There are some ISU members on specialist pay ranges, for example Scientific Officers in the Finger Print Bureaus.

As part of the 2013 pay deal AAs and AOs moved to a single spot rate (albeit split into 3 pay bands – see later.).  There is no range of salaries, nothing to move through.  Only one single rate.

This wasn’t available for the grades above, predominantly because of the merger with HMRC whose staff were on a significantly higher base salary.  So grades EO – G6 have a pay range.  You normally enter this range at the bottom and through incremental pay rises move gradually to the top.  To encompass the wide range of base points some of these ranges were very long indeed so during the last 6 years efforts have been made to shorten them.  Overly long pay ranges are vulnerable to allegations of age discrimination unless there are measures in place to address them.

And pay bands?

There are 3 separate pay bands; a practice which arose after 2013 when what was then London Location Allowance, and other location allowances, were consolidated into base pay.  The ranges are London, Provincial and National.  Staff who work within the London / greater London area are on London band.  Staff who work very close to London but not quite are on the Provincial band and everyone else on National.

There are always arguments for staff who work