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Thursday 24 August 2017

Government to review pay for managers in NHS ‘arm’s length’ bodies

By MiP

SSRB Chair Dr Martin Read has urged the government to consult MiP over changes to top managers' pay.

The Senior Salaries Review Body has called on the government to consult directly with MiP about a new pay framework for senior managers working in arm’s length bodies (ALBs) of the Department of Health, and backed the union’s call for an across-the-board 1% pay increase.

Ministers accepted the recommendations of the review body’s 2017 report, published on 20 July, and agreed to review the SSRB’s remit, in a move that could see its jurisdiction extended to very senior managers across the whole NHS.

The SSRB, chaired by Dr Martin Read, reports annually on the pay of around 360 executive and senior managers (ESMs) working for ALBs – such as NHS England, Monitor, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England – but does not cover senior managers working for NHS trusts or CCGs.

The key points of the 2017 report were:

  • The full 1% available for pay awards under the government’s public sector pay policy should be used for pay awards to ESMs, with employers mandated by the Department of Health (DH) to use the budget in full.
  • Pay awards should be used to address “recruitment, retention, motivation and service delivery issues, staff performance and current position on the pay scale” as well as to tackle gender disparities and those between different groups of staff with similar responsibilities. How the available 1% is divided between ESMs should depend on the priorities of each ALB.
  • The whole budget for performance bonuses should be used to make non-consolidated awards to the top 25% of performers. The review body criticised the under-spending of the performance bonus budget in the past.
  • The government should carry out a thorough review of the way pay is determined for ESMs before the SSRB’s next report. The review body recommends either widening the remit group to include all very senior managers in the NHS, or delegating responsibility for ESM pay to individual employers.
  • The review body explicitly recommends that the DH should consult with Managers in Partnership about the review and whether to widen the remit group.

Welcoming the SSRB’s report, MiP chief executive Jon Restell said: “We’re pleased that the review body has agreed with MiP’s recommendations on awarding the full 1% for basic increases, using the full bonus pot and deciding on the scope of the remit.”

He added: “We’re opposed to the public sector pay cap of 1%, but there was a real discussion about whether even that derisory increase should be recommended. So our arguments about an award to motivate ESMs were important.

“Our members were clear in our surveys that they wanted to see all available pay funds used including the bonus pot. So we welcome the recommendation that ALBs use the bonus pot or explain why not.”

Restell said MiP was looking forward to talks with the DH about the remit of the SSRB within the NHS. “We have argued over many years that there should be a consistent approach and framework to very senior managers across the NHS,” he added.

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