Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Wales' biggest winners: Criticism of bonuses awarded to top civil servants in Wales

Joining in with the criticism of Senior Civil Servant bonuses on this blog, the Welsh Conservatives have criticised bonuses awarded to the Assembly's top civil servants.

Miss Wagstaff Presents:

The BBC have reported (also covered in the Western Mail) that bonuses to top civil servants in Wales have risen 154% in the past five years, according to figures obtained by the Conservatives. They show senior assembly government staff received more than £686,000 last year, compared to £270,000 in 2003/04.

The Tories said it showed a "money for nothing culture" in Cardiff Bay.

But the assembly government said it did not decide bonuses. The First Division Association union said only staff who achieve their objectives received them. Meanwhile, the assembly government defended spending more than £48,000 on office plants, saying they helped to "lower employee turnover rates" and improve air quality.

Conservatives called for a review of senior staff salaries after their written questions revealed details of the highest earners among administration senior staff.

The figures show overall assembly government staffing costs for 2006/7 were just over £224m, with staffing levels of 6,230 at 31 January this year.

The latest official statistics show that in 2005-06 the average (mean) pre-tax income in Wales was just £20,000.

The Conservatives calculate that out of a total Assembly Government staff of 6,230, 28 earn in excess of £100,000, 23 between £80,000 and £90,000, 51 between £70,000 and £80,000, 171 between £60,000 and £70,000, and 499 between £50,000 and £60,000.

The bonuses were defended by the FDA, the union for senior civil servants.

Opposition leader Nick Bourne said:
I find it incredible that the Labour-Plaid government has the brass neck to award staff such whopping bonuses when it has been failing on so many fronts over the last 12 months. Year after year Rhodri Morgan has spent more taxpayers' money on spin, presentation, advisers, and bureaucracy. This is money which should go on health, education and local government, not to fund an administration whose policies suffocate choice, enterprise and innovation.
Alun Cairns AM said:
Families across Wales who are struggling to make ends meet with stagnant earnings and rising living costs will be appalled by these figures. Massive amounts of public money are being used to swell the bank accounts of senior civil servants at a time when the Government is urging pay restraint.
A Welsh Assembly Government spokersperson said:
These very senior staff form part of the senior civil service and their pay and bonus policies are determined by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, not by the assembly government or other devolved administrations. To attract and retain high calibre staff we need to reflect market values. But recent senior staff review board findings show that senior civil service salaries have fallen behind those in other areas of the public sector, notably NHS and local government.

Bonus payments are not permanent and are non-pensionable. In effect, base pay is being held down in favour of one-off payments that do not affect future levels of pay or pension. *
Paul Neilson, First Division Association's national officer for Wales, said:
Far from being a 'money for nothing culture', those who do not achieve their objectives will not get any pay increases.
* That doesn't cause too much discomfort when they earn in excess of £50,000 per annum, without bonuses.


Anonymous 23 July 2008 at 21:07  

The lower grades do all the work while the bosses get the rewards. It's the same the world over.

Anonymous 23 July 2008 at 21:13  

The real issue is why are public servants paid a bonus at all.

Jones the boy 23 July 2008 at 21:16  

What's happened to your Facebook link?

Parky 23 July 2008 at 21:33  

What's the point of attracting the right people with these incentives when they leave early on? Your post 'Education Director Optimistic on Results' is a great example of this.

the serf 23 July 2008 at 21:59  

It's well known that bonuses are more or less guaranteed for heads of department. I don't know a single one that hasn't been rewarded in this way in the last three years. Unless they were fairly new to the role.

Anonymous 23 July 2008 at 22:09  

I heard the Permanent Secretary recommends staff for bonuses.

Sounds like favouritism to me!

Anonymous 23 July 2008 at 22:24  

It's a point system. Marks for decreasing staff sickness; staying on budget; savings of any kind; delivery (however successful) of key projects; managing divisional goals; mentoring etc

annoyed 23 July 2008 at 22:59  

A quarter of civil servants earn less than £16,000 and thousands in the UK are on the minimum wage.

This is a scandal and will sadly be quickly forgotten about.

sick of the union 23 July 2008 at 23:03  

Wales's head of the PCS union is defending this. Let's hope he defends his wn members with such vigour when it comes to pay for us less fortunate individuals.

John Wilson 24 July 2008 at 00:37  

There are some good public servants but far too many would not last five minutes in the private sector.

For other reasons this also has the habit of working the other way round.

Anonymous 24 July 2008 at 00:40  

Why the need for a bonus at the end of the day? Civil Servants have the added security of a job for life with a pension that most people can only dream of at the end of it.

Peter 24 July 2008 at 13:54  

As Dylan Jones-Evans has suggested - However, they [middle managers] are drowning in a miasma of unnecessary bureaucracy and hierarchical decision making which is largely a result of prevarication, inaction and lack of vision by senior colleagues (with a few notable exceptions).

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