Latest Public Sector News

21.06.13

Government must ‘get a grip’ on compromise payments – NAO

There is a lack of transparency, consistency and accountability in the use of compromise agreements in the public sector, new analysis from the National Audit Office (NAO) shows.

A lack of central or coordinated control over the use of such agreements and limited recording of their use has been criticised. Some people accepting confidentiality clauses feel “gagged”, the NAO heard, in return for a good reference.

Confidentiality clauses could also mean poor employees go on to work elsewhere in the public sector.

The Treasury should provide formal guidance for departments within government using compromise agreements, the NAO has recommended. Figures show that in the three years to 31 March 2013, the Treasury has approved special severance payments worth £28.4m.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Compromise agreements are widely and often legitimately used. But the lack of transparency, consistency and accountability is unacceptable.

“With the public purse under sustained pressure and services increasingly delivered at arm’s length, it is important that compromise agreements do not leave staff feeling gagged or reward the failure either of an employee or an organization.

“The centre of government should get a grip on the use of compromise agreements in the public sector.”

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