2016 Pay – offer received – PCS voice Pay special

PCS and the other Unions have now received a 2016-17 DCLG HQ formal pay offer.  This offer is attached as Annex A to the covering email to this PCS Voice and we strongly advise you to read it plus the management announcement at https://intranet.communities.gov.uk/blog/2016/10/20/pay-award-offer-201617/.  The proposed new 2016-17 pay scales are similarly attached as Annex B.

Headlines

  • 0.94% award to all staff in the reformed (new) pay arrangements consolidated up to pay scale maxima
  • 0.94% increase in minima of reformed pay arrangements for AO to Grade 6 staff
  • 0.94% increase in the spot rate for both National and London based AO staff
  • Fully consolidated awards to those AO staff below maxima in the reformed pay arrangements and covered by the ‘Transitional Arrangements’ (please see Appendix 1 below for further information)
  • 0.94% increase in maxima for SEO and Grade 7 staff in the reformed pay arrangements
  • No increase to pay range maxima for EO, HEO and Grade 6 staff in the reformed pay arrangements
  • No increase in allowances
  • Payment of due contractual milestones on the contractually due date to staff remaining on the legacy (old) pay system and entitled to a milestone payment (members whose milestone date was 1st August 2016 should already have received this increase)
  • Staff who remain on the legacy pay system and are entitled to future milestone payments, but who do not qualify for a milestone increase in salary this pay year (1st August 2016 to 31st July 2017) will not receive a pay award this year

Achievements

The PCS pay negotiators pressed management very hard indeed on the urgent need to increase the AO spot rates which have remained frozen since 2009 – a deplorable situation which has resulted in around half of those staff affected receiving no consolidated pay increase at all during the last seven years. The decision of the Department to increase these rates in line with this year’s general award whilst belated, is also very much welcomed.

PCS negotiators also made strong representations on the need to increase all maxima in order to ensure that all staff received the consolidated increase that DCLG management previously assured staff they would receive as a result of introducing new pay arrangements in 2014. Our representations have at least resulted in the Department’s decision to increase maxima for SEO and Grade 7 staff.

Limitations

However management have refused to increase the maxima for EO, HEO and Grade 6 staff with the result that some staff at these grades will only receive either a partly consolidated or non-consolidated award despite the general lack of salary movement in recent years. This decision ‘flies in the face’ of the statement by the previous Permanent Secretary that the previous pay system was “increasingly unfair” because it gave the Department “little or no flexibility to give consolidated increases to staff who are already at their grade maximum”. The approach adopted towards consolidation is also very much a matter upon which DCLG management has discretion to decide upon as part of this year’s pay settlement

The Department has also failed to honour its public commitment in September 2015 that it would undertake serious pay progression design work and report this to staff. Instead it has once again deferred its assurance that it wishes to introduce a minima to maxima pay progression system. In addition, the Department has made the extraordinary announcement that it proposes in future to link half of the non-consolidated bonus pot to staff’s end of year performance markings despite the appalling equality outcomes associated with the PMR system in DCLG. PCS has formally requested that the Executive Team re-consider their original decision to introduce PMR related bonuses, but we are unfortunately yet to receive a response.

Unfair government pay policy

The Government’s pay policy is so unfair and so restrictive that it is impossible for departmental management teams, whatever their plans, to protect and restore living standards, protect and improve the value of pay range minima and maxima, and implement a genuine progression system.

The Government’s policy is reflected in a pay offer which once again freezes some pay maxima and all allowances; has still to introduce a non-discriminatory progression system which progresses all staff to the rate for the job – the pay range maxima; and will see some members receiving a less than fully consolidated award. Nevertheless, PCS believes that the Department should have raised the maxima of all pay bands at least to some extent.

However, within the remit permitted to it, the management pay team has engaged constructively with PCS and other unions and sought to use at least some of the available but limited flexibility in a helpful manner. The raising of pay range minima will shorten pay ranges and render future progression arrangements more affordable.

Way forward

The DCLG National Branch Executive Committee will shortly decide how best to ascertain the views of members regarding this offer ahead of the management set deadline of 9th November. Further advice on this matter will be circulated shortly.

Going forward from the 2016 pay round, PCS wishes to negotiate a comprehensive progression system that will benefit all staff and ensure fairness for those members who remain on their contractual milestone terms because of financial commitments already entered into. We will therefore be seeking early talks with management, at least around key principles, with a view to making progress on these issues.

Appendix 1

AO staff covered by transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements apply to the small number of AOs who lacked contractual progression rights and were automatically transferred to the new pay system.

Prior to the introduction of the new pay arrangements the AO National and London pay rates were:

Grade Minima 1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year Max
PB2.0/AO N £19,935 £20,386 £20,838 £21,289 £21,741 £22,194
PB2.1/AO L £23,218 £23,744 £24,270 £24,796 £25,322 £25,847

As part of the 2014 introduction of the new pay system management explained the AO transitional arrangements as follows, “the pay scale minima will be increased in line with the year 1 milestone on the 1st December 2014 and then by each subsequent milestone on the 1st August of each year until all AOs are on the spot rate.”

Therefore, on 1/12/2014 the 1st year milestone shown above became the AO minima and, with effect from 1/8/2015, the 2nd year milestone became the minima.

Staff in the transitional arrangements have already received the uplift to the equivalent of the 3rd year milestones in the old system (paid with August salaries) and will also receive the 0.94% award if the 2016 offer is implemented. The uprated 3rd year milestones for these existing staff would then become £21,489 for National based staff and £25,029 for London based staff.

The new maxima (spot rates) are £22,403 for National based staff and £26,090 for London based staff.