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Warnings that pay limitations could lead to senior staff recruitment problems

“Morale is fragile” among senior public sector staff because of limits on pay and pensions as a result of funding cuts, a new report has warned.

The 38th Annual Report on Senior Salaries, which provides independent advice on pay for senior members of the civil service, judiciary and armed forces, says that although pay restrictions and pension reforms are not creating recruitment and retention problems at the moment, they threaten to do so in the future.

In 2015, public sector workers in the top 98% percentile of pay earned between 11 and 16% less than their private sector counterparts and the value of their pensions has fallen.

The latest report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned that pay increases across the public sector remain lower than in the private.

The latest Job Vacancies Index showed that jobs demand is also higher in the private sector than the public, with a job vacancy score of 53.8 for temporary jobs and 48.6 for permanent jobs compared to 60.6 and 66.2 in the private sector.

The Senior Salaries report also warns that departments should focus on saving money by ensuring efficient performance, not simply by limiting salaries, and that they should set out a clear long-term strategy for pay, supported by more data on what works.

The report also says that problems are being created by differences between national and local policies on senior staff pay.

It recommends an increase in the minimum pay bands for civil servants to £65,000 for band 1, £87,000 for band 2 and £106,000 for band 3, and 1% pay increases for senior army officers and the judiciary.

The report did not include a pay recommendation for police and crime commissioners (PCCs), as it has in previous years, at the request of Theresa May, the home secretary, who asked them to delay the recommendation until the government has prepared further details on the role of PCCs, including plans for them to work closer with fire services.

However, the report notes that May said it was difficult to envisage circumstances where she would accept a recommendation to increase PCC pay this year.

Earlier this year, PSE interviewed PCCs Tony Lloyd and Dr Alan Billings.


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