Monday, 19 November 2007

Pay and pension can be a lottery

Sir Jon Shortridge's windfall caused a stir in the Welsh press last week. The Assembly Government’s retiring top official Sir Jon Shortridge will walk away with a lump sum of more than £235,000, it has been revealed.

The article goes on to say that the Permanent Secretary, who has announced his retirement in April at the age of 61, has built up the huge pension during a long and distinguished civil service career. Sir Jon’s pension is linked to his annual salary of £180,000 to £185,000 – nearly £60,000 more than his political master First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who was paid £122,682 in 2006 to 2007.

Sir Jon’s pension pot at March 31, 2007, of £75,000 to £80,000 a year and a lump payment of three times his pension – published in the Assembly’s accounts for 2006 to 2007.

There's nothing wrong with this as the organisation and responsibility of the individual in question is vast. In the private sector this is common place, but in the public sector it leaves a bad taste in people's mouths and has been branded “unbelievable” by a former ASW worker.

Former ASW steel-worker John Benson, who has been battling to win pensions justice, said:
We are only asking for justice and fair play at a time when the Prime Minister is talking about British values of fairness. The sums the Permanent Secretary will receive are frankly amazing and unbelievable while we struggle to make ends meet after the collapse of our companies and our pensions.
The report shows that eight other key senior Assembly Government managers currently earn more than £100,000 a year. In itself, this statement is just the tip of the iceberg. Sources tell me that in fact, at least 25 staff earn in the region of £100,000 a year and that doesn't even include any potential bonuses that Senior Civil Servants can earn.

The staff of the Welsh Assembly Government contain over 145 Senior Civil Servants (not counting those employed by the Assembly Commission) and salaries range from £60-80,000 to £180,000 plus bonuses if you are fortunate to meet certain targets.

The majority of the workforce in Wales will never reach this comfort zone in terms of salary, and unfortunately, what we have to regretably accept is that the numbers of civil servants will rise over the coming years, not fall. We might not like the increase and expenditure, but let's just hope and pray that they earn their salary.


Valleys man 19 November 2007 at 13:27  

Looking at their website you can see the WAG's management board contains more than 8 members so your source must be correct. It's frustrating when the papers get it wrong.

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 14:06  

I wonder if someone has the information to publish how many senior civil servants there were in the former Welsh Office. See if you can find out

Alun 19 November 2007 at 14:46  

145 senior civil servants. How many bloody departments are there?

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 15:10  

Who wants to work in the private sector when you can get a safe, cushy job in the public sector? Good wages for some, safe pension and the ability to work flexible hours.

Randy Higham 19 November 2007 at 18:33  

Hi, Pippa - you really a girl? One Wales has much to fear.

Miss Wagstaff 19 November 2007 at 18:58  

Hi Mr Higham - Just a simple girl in a man's world :)

Kate 19 November 2007 at 19:26  

He deserves every single penny having to hold that lot together for so long.

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 19:55  

they must be fighting for his job with that kind of financial incentive

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 21:19  

"plus bonuses if you are fortunate to meet certain targets."

When are they ever met?

Phillip D 19 November 2007 at 22:09  

Would be excellent to have a comparison with the set up of UK government departments to see if Welsh departments are over staffed or even top-heavy.

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 23:34  

Of course Shortridge is perm sec of the Welsh Office as well as head of the Assembly Civil Service ... a colonial appointment to oversee the natives.

Anonymous 19 November 2007 at 23:39  

He isn't perm sec of the Welsh Office (think you mean the Wales Office), only the Welsh Assembly Government. He was the last perm sec of the Welsh Office before functions transferred to the National Assembly in 1999.

Anonymous 20 November 2007 at 12:00  

This is a serious issue and surely the UK Civil Service has to keep an eye on the number of senior civil servants/civil servants in Wales before the numbers get out of hand.

Issy 20 November 2007 at 12:26  

I understand the Cabinet Office in London does or should have control. On the other hand, Rhodri must have some control and as long as he doesn't allocate more than he's allowed to on staff pay then he should be within the guidelines.

Norm 20 November 2007 at 13:52  

A pension that's worth nearly half his final salary. My God, if only we could all be pensioned off in the same way.

Miss Wagstaff 20 November 2007 at 18:30  

I've certainly learnt a couple of things that I didn't already know. I wonder if Sir Jon will head off back to England when he retires or will his adopted homeland suffice?

Anonymous 20 November 2007 at 21:04  

Back over the border by all acoounts

Anonymous 20 November 2007 at 21:48  

Bet he must be laughing all the way to the bank,Ironic that the Cardiff Steelworkers are protesting at the Assembly tonight about having no pensions

Miss Wagstaff 20 November 2007 at 22:11  

Valleys Mam - As one man put it, "It has taken over my life, I go to bed thinking about it, I get up thinking about it. I wonder what have I done to deserve this. I've lost my life savings through no fault of my own. I was going to retire at 60, but here I am at 61 a litter picker for Cardiff Council."


James Hargreaves 21 November 2007 at 11:22  

Isn't the Welsh Civil Service always having to reorganise itself since 1999? No wonder there are so many senior staff as there is rarely a redundancy from their ranks. It's still a job for life as ever it was.

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