Skip to main content

Budget 2014- what does it mean for Civil Servants?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Civil Service Reform
(left to right) Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Treasury Rob Wilson, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan, Chancellor the Exchequer George Osborne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Amber Rudd and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke outside 11 Downing Street before the Chancellor headed to the House of Commons to deliver his annual Budget statement.
The Chancellor and colleagues outside 11 Downing Street before he headed to the House of Commons to deliver his annual Budget statement.

My blog on performance management 2 weeks ago received an unprecedented response. I know it is an issue which many of you care deeply about. Rest assured I do read the comments on the blog and I have a great team around me, led by Chris Last, who I know have been responding to your questions and issues where they can. It is impossible to answer every question in a blog, but if you have outstanding concerns and questions then please speak to the HR team in your department. They will be visible over the coming weeks to support you through the End Year Review process and stand ready to answer your questions.

Today, I want to give you a quick update on what the budget will mean for civil servants. The key message from me is that there are no new savings sought from departments and no further significant changes to Civil Service pay and pensions. Civil servants aren’t affected by the announcement today which abolishes the effective requirement to buy an annuity to access your pension.

We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service. Meanwhile the government confirmed last week that in 2014-15 pay awards for senior civil servants will be limited to an average of 1%. I wrote to all SCS to let them know what this means in reality. If you have further questions your HR team will be able to help.

A small proportion of you will be affected by a new pilot project which will give departments more freedom to manage their pay bills. This new initiative will be trialled in DEFRA and the Intellectual Property Office. These departments will be required to live within an overall pay budget, but it will be at their discretion who they award pay increases to, and how much. Staff in these departments who will be affected by this pilot will receive further information on what this means for them.

It is worth noting that the Chancellor has taken further action today to reduce spending into the next Parliament. Expenditure will fall (in real terms) until 2018 and we will all need to continue to look to deliver savings in the work we do. I know this can be done – last year civil servants delivered £10 billion of efficiency savings. To build on this the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office to develop a new efficiency programme in time for this year’s Autumn Statement, which will deliver savings from 2016.

I would like to take this opportunity to say how proud I am to lead the Civil Service during this period of major change. Together we have risen to the challenge of delivering better services for less money, and we are successfully delivering an ambitious reform programme which will have a lasting and positive impact on how we work. Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment to Ministers and the public.

Stay in touch. Sign up now for email updates from this blog.

Related content:

Budget 2014 on GOV.UK

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Bill posted on

    The response to the concerns is as much as expected. Very poor and very dismissive.

  2. Comment by Mark posted on

    Sorry, Sir Bob but your reply regarding the comments on your PMR blog is insufficient. The comments reflected failures across the Civil Service to implement the new PMR system correctly and fairly, particularly around forced quotas of performance marks. Simply referring staff to their respective HR departments does not provide a solution and simply passes the buck. A cross Civil Service investigation into these failures is required, with the timely action taken to resolve.

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by David posted on

      Actually most of the comment was aimed at the fundamental flaw in the system - relative marking, which destroys honest feedback and makes performance appraisal into a drag on rather than a support to departmental performance - rather than at its implementation. But quite agree that HR departments are in no position to sort this out.

      • Replies to David>

        Comment by Graham Dudley posted on

        I agree relative marking is not acceptable to anyone.
        Think of a potential discussion between the press and the minister
        After year 1 - 25% under-performing
        Press: Minister this is terrible 25% of the civil service is under-performing; what are you going to do about it.
        Minister: We have instigated many committees to talk about it and have many training initiatives in place. Those found wanting have been sacked.
        After year 2 - same result 25% under-performing
        Press: Minister you told us last year that you were going to re-train under-performing staff and sack those found wanting, yet the results are the same - what are you going to do about it?
        Minister: same reply as above.
        After year 3 results - same result 25% under-performing
        Press: Are you incompetent minister, nothing has changed, still 25% of staff are under-performing. You say you will do something about it, but you have not made any improvement at all.

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Gordon Cains posted on

      Human Resources Department?? what Human Resources department??

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Kathryn Maynard posted on

      Sir Bob. It would be lovely to have an HR team available to speak to. I have no HR locally. My HR team has been placed centrally and they are hard to get hold of. I can only speak to someone by phone and the waiting time can take up to 20 mins to get through.

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Steve posted on

      I have worked in DWP (and its predecessors) for well over a decade and I cannot remember a time things have ever felt so bleak. As an EO I am still pretty close to my payband minimum, working hard but paid thousands of pounds less than people who were around when proper pay progression existed back in the old Benefits Agency / Employment Service days.

      Over the years we have had suggestions of change and addressing pay properly. If, after all these years in the service I am not now competent, I should be sacked. If I am competent I should be paid the advertised top of my payband. PMR only skirts around the competency issue and serves to give managers a reason to dismiss staff if they need to. It is a loaded system, just like the annual staff survey which asks if poor performance is being dealt with effectively. It is loaded for staff to answer 'no' so when PMR happened the SCS can say 'you told us poor performance needs to be dealt with so this is why you have PMR'.

      Will any of this ever change? I don't know, but Sir Bob you need to be questioning the people you surround yourself with and ask why your blog is now receiving unprecedented responses. There is a great deal of unhappiness across the Civil Service, those at the top appear to be getting more rewards than those of us doing the day jobs. I stay because I love my job, I make a difference every working day to people's lives. It is getting harder to stay in a job you make me feel so devalued with real-term pay cuts factoring in inflation, every budget with increased personal allowance increases being swallowed by higher pension contributions, and what's the worst part of all is a dillusional leadership at the helm. Who at the top was kidding who when the positive PMR feedback blog was published?

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Stephen posted on

      Sir Bob - You had sufficient time to boldly tells us that the new performance management system has been positively received and now you totally refuse to address the 500+ concerns that were raised in your previous blog. Shameful (to choose a mild word)
      Leadership, where art thou?

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Syed Rehman posted on

      I think it is great that we can comment and express our views straight to Sir Bob on his blogs and it is courteous of him to start writing Blogs and accept comments!
      If I was in a Private Sector I wouldn’t be able to express my views in the way they have been expressed here.

      • Replies to Syed Rehman>

        Comment by Downtrodden posted on

        Agree it is great to be able to leave comments Syed. However when the questions raised are not answered there seems little point in leaving a comment.

  3. Comment by Andrew posted on

    Sir Bob,
    no one sees their HR teams, that is why we use your blog to raise issue that you are clearly not informed about those around you. Also, most of the issues are to do with the way HRs insist on carrying out PMR, especially "guided" distribution.

    • Replies to Andrew>

      Comment by Gareth posted on

      Indeed. The HR remnants are not in a position to do anything other than chuck the policy back at us. I would have expected Sir Bob to know that. Perhaps he did know it and was fobbing us off.

  4. Comment by Gareth posted on

    Sir Bob,

    Okay, perhaps I can try a slightly different tack. You say you read all the comments on the blog: that's fine. You say it's impossible to answer every question: that's entirely understandable whne there are several hundred (though if I'm being picky, I'd say impractical rather than impossible).

    But please give a frank response: does not the fact that you get over 500 comments on Performance Management, with more spilling over into other blog topics, with the vast, vast majority being critical, give you even a scintilla of doubt about the system? Do you not recognise that many of the comments give entirely valid criticisms of the system? And is anyone in management actually looking at the comments and addressing them, or as this going to be yet another "plough on regardless" initiative?

    • Replies to Gareth>

      Comment by Dave posted on

      Totally agree - as a manager being "forced" to implement the scheme I feel that it is toxic to morale and will have a massively negative impact on team building. If we're looking to the private sector, let's not adopt discredited techniques but look at the latest practices (more timely rewards/sanctions rather than waiting to end of year, etc.).
      Appreciate that this is a Ministerial initiative (Francis Maude trailled it around 2 years ago) but can we not at least feed back to Ministers the corrosive impact it is having?

  5. Comment by Nick posted on

    Very weak reply,definetly appears the buck is being passed and the whole thing is being swet under the carpet.

  6. Comment by John posted on

    Well the opinions of close to 500 members of staff on PMR obviously count for nothing. Just wasted 2 days preparing for my end of year assessment.
    Can't wait for the next staff survey, especially the section on "Leadership and managing change"
    Frankly appalling, and have lost all faith in the SCS.

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by John posted on

      Frustrated that once again my comment does not appear to have passed Moderation.
      Reading your moderation blog I am on message regarding the blog- my remarks referred to PMR. Perhaps the sentence "have lost all faith in the SCS" struck a raw nerve.
      Perhaps it would be a suggestion to E-mail people who's comments are moderated out with a reason why.

  7. Comment by James posted on

    Dear Sir Bob,

    Thank you for your response, but I'm afraid that HR Teams in my department are, and have been, completely invisible, and I see no prospect of this changing, especially outside London.

    All I can say, with the greatest of respect, is that you Must Improve.


  8. Comment by Mark posted on

    Sir Bob, the casual way you brush-off over 500 negative comments about PMR says it all really. It's good to know that you have agreat team around you though.

  9. Comment by Mark posted on

    Sir Bob,

    'Civil servants aren’t affected by the announcement today which abolishes the effective requirement to buy an annuity to access your pension.' - Indirectly we are impacted in many ways. Our annual net pay decrease will ultimately help fund the burden on the public purse from these changes and our 'gold-plated' final salary scheme is gradually becoming less attractive than the alternative schemes available.

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Simon posted on

      I agree Mark. Our 'gold-plated' pension scheme is becoming less attractive very rapidly - my partner still has a retirement age of 60 where she works, so thanks to the changes, I can look forward to missing out on time with her at the end of my life.
      And knowing a few people who work in the private sector, our pension age is now higher than all of theirs. It's a shame we're not affected by these changes, as it would have been nice to have taken the pot at 55.
      As it is, myself and a few others are now having to consider whether to continue with the pension or not - with pay awards being so low and increasing contributions, it's one of the few areas where we could save money now.

      • Replies to Simon>

        Comment by Mary posted on

        'Gold-plated Pension Scheme' only really applies to those in SCS. The vast majority of civil servants and public sector workers will receive a payment based on their final or 3 year average final salaries. If your salary is average or below, you may well be heading into poverty during retirement as well.

      • Replies to Simon>

        Comment by Andrew posted on

        I am lucky enough to have been within 10 years of being able to take my classic pension when the pension terms and conditions were enforced. That means I can take my pension when I reach 60, having racked up 42 years service. My wife is six years 'behind' me in her career, so the changes to our 'gold-plated' pension mean she will now not be able to take her pension until she is 67 (or whatever her retirement age will be by then).

        If I work until I have paid in the maximum 45 years worth of contributions, I could retire at 63-ish, but my wife will not be able to retire for another 13 years or so. We had been planning on (and looking forward to) being able to retire at or around the same time. For us to do that now, I will have to work until I'm 74 - which includes more than 10 years of no pension contributions!

        Whilst that scenario feels horrific to me, the biggest 'wrong' about all of it is that my wife won't be able to take her pension until she is 67, which is 50 years after she started work!! Why can she not take her pension as soon as she's reached her maximum 45 years of contributions???

        Please Sir Bob, HR, or whoever, please tell me I've got the wrong end of the stick.

  10. Comment by Florence posted on

    HR Teams have been hugely reduced in numbers as a result of 'Civil Service Reform' and efficiency savings, so it simply isn't realistic to say 'talk to your HR team' - they don't exist any more to help people!

    You say that 'there are no new savings sought from departments' but you then go on to say 'the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office to develop a new efficiency programme in time for this year’s Autumn Statement, which will deliver savings from 2016'. So which is it - more savings or no more savings?

    I certainly don't feel in any way reassured - I see lots of spin on messages, but am intelligent enough to be able to read between the lines, and I still fear for my job and my career in the Civil Service and that fear grows every day.

    • Replies to Florence>

      Comment by mr xbox posted on

      I still fear for my job and my career in the Civil Service and that fear grows every day." rather Grandiose for dead end job.

  11. Comment by Tony posted on

    its good to know you have a great team around you, which one of them will be marked must improve?”

  12. Comment by ed posted on

    the pensioners of today total income, have higher part of working medium income than 40 years agos.) rather than pensions

    "There has also been a real terms increase in the average disposable income of non-retired
    households, which rose from £16,500 in 1977 to £35,000 in 2010/11. Despite the absolute cash
    increase in income being greater for non-retired than retired households, the actual rate of growth
    for non-retired households has been lower, with income in 2010/11 just over twice its 1977 level."

  13. Comment by Suzanne posted on

    I am concerned to read "a new pilot project which will give departments more freedom to manage their pay bills" and "These departments will be required to live within an overall pay budget, but it will be at their discretion who they award pay increases to, and how much." How can this pilot help when you have previously said "If the Civil Service is to be the best that it can be then it is crucial that civil servants are able to work together seamlessly." How are we supposed to work seamlessly together when we all get different pay? What crtieria, if any will be used by departments to decide who they want to give a pay increase to?

    • Replies to Suzanne>

      Comment by Matt posted on

      Not only when we all get different pay but on top of that when we have to fight each other through the PMR system in order to get the best "deal"

    • Replies to Suzanne>

      Comment by David Grindrod posted on

      "What does it mean for Civil Servants", "Pay awards will be limited to an average of 1% for Senior Civil Servants", well what about the rest of us Sir Bob?

      • Replies to David Grindrod>

        Comment by Kevin White, HRDG Home Office posted on

        In the Home Office contractual pay progression for all staff was removed in agreement with the unions through the 2013 pay settlement. The Government has previously announced that Departments will put in place plans by 2015-16 to end automatic progression based on the length of time someone might have been in post or served, as this is not an effective use of the scarce resources currently available for pay increases. Contractual pay progression is a historic legacy which most departments have already removed.

        • Replies to Kevin White, HRDG Home Office>

          Comment by Matt posted on

          Removed yes Kevin but without any effort to fix the inequalities created by said removal.

          Progression pay was intended to and indeed did reflect the fact that a new entrant needs time to gain the experience and qualifications needed for the top band. Its removal means qualification and experience now counts for absolutely nothing.

          The situation we have now is that 2 C2s doing the exact same job can potentially be being paid a difference of just over £5,700 a year for no other reason that because one of them reached the top of the pay scale before progression was removed and the other hadn't reached beyond band 5 by 2010. Add up that £5,700 a year over the span of a 40 year career and you're not talking John Robinson's nice new car anymore. The real rub is that the lower paid C2 could easily be a recently promoted D grade with far more experience and qualifications that the higher.

          Desipte supposedly getting rid of progression we still advertise pay bands despite there being no way of progressing up them, on top of that we restrict experienced and qualified civil servant promotees to the grade minimum (not to mention impose worse TACOS on them as a promotion bonus to boot) while negotiating up to the maximum (and sometimes even more) with outside applicants who may or may not have similar relevant qualifications and experience.

          If we are truly getting rid of progression pay, then the pay bands need to go with it, and everyone needs to be on common salary that reflects their contribution to the civil service at their grade. As others have already stated the pay band maxima would be a good starting point, after all that was considered the fair salary for the job once you were qualified and experienced. Given we're delivering such large efficiency savings it should easily be affordable but I for one am not holding my breath.

  14. Comment by Mr buckfast posted on

    those that closes to management of course like public sector transfer club perk for certain people to finally salery pensions when join civil service years after scheme finished with no legal requirement. with no plans to change civil service transfer clubs heads of departments those heads such as the right honarble bob etc get final salery with no changes due. -)

    Although more sensible point wage flexiblity may make some sense, I mean sure most of the civil service is job scheme or privilage programe for oxbriudge arts students but what about GCHQ or somewhere may need someone with ablity?

  15. Comment by John posted on

    Sir Bob,

    What does "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service" mean exactly please? I don't remember being told this was an objective. Apologies if I missed it, but I think I would remember!

    I hope what you're saying is that there is recognition that the correct rate for the job is the top of the scale and increments below that will be abolished. As you're proud of us I'm sure you'll think that's reasonable.

    In our department, unfortunately, we have people stuck wherever they happened to be on the progression scale when our Board decided increments were 'non-contractual' a couple of years ago - so we'll have people earning different amounts but doing exactly the same work for the foreseeable future. Those who've been in the grade for a long time have little incentive to develop themselves and go for promotion, since there's little difference between the max on one grade and the min on the next - which is where you'll stay in our department.

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by tvbsusie posted on

      I agree with just about allthe comments on here but especially the ones regarding progressive pay. I have been on the bottom of the pay scale since being promoted and now always will be so my experience counts for nothing and newly promoted colleagues receive the same salary as me - how does this improve morale? Personally I am at the end of my tether - my post was amalgamated with another in December 2011 so effectively I have been doing 2 jobs since then with very little support. I haven't had time to complete my EOY evidence for my PAR properly because of other deadlines so therefore face the risk of falling into the "must improve" category because I physically haven't had the time to provide the evidence of the work I do. This is at a time when I am actually pushing for promotion because I believe this is the only way I can earn a living wage and be reocgnised for the hard work I do - as do many other people within my department and I am sure other departments. All this is doing is dividing the workforce and causing rifts amongst people as you know that other people, doing less work, are earning far more than you. I also know of at least 2 people in my department who earn more than I do even though they have not been substantive in grade as long as I have as they were on TMP for 3 years before they managed to pass the assessment centre for that grade adn therefore became substantive about 6 months after I did - how can this be right?
      Anyway I won't waffle on any more as I realise nothing will change but I actually enjoy my job and care about the work I do, as many others do, but I don't know how much longer I can survive in a workplace that appear to care about its staff!

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Matthew posted on

      Thank you John for raising the question that was ringing in my mind.

      Can I add a question for Sir Bob, as a relatively young G7 in HMRC the removal of progression pay means that I will forever be paid less than longer serving peers, simply because they are older than me. Please explain how this is not direct age-related discrimination, or if you accept that it is discriminatory, what you plan to do to address the discrimination.

      Also, on PMR, the ongoing unease amongst staff sugegsts that either the system is flawed or there has been a failure to engage and communicate effectively on the part of senior leaders. Which do you think is the case?

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Steve posted on

      I have worked in my current grade for 5 years now and am firmly stuck at the bottom of the pay band. Most of my peers are at the max. I have sought information re the reinstatement of pay progression on numerous occasions. Now I appear to have my answer. I shall continue to earn much less than my peers and pennies more than my staff! When it comes to retirement (if it ever transpires) my final salary (up to 2020 as I'm "on the cusp") and hence a large chunk of my pension will still be much much less than my peers.
      I could go on.........boy, could I go on!

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Hacked Off posted on

      Like many others I have been stuck at the bottom of my pay scale since the beginning of the pay freeze. Despite being in grade for 7 years, I am being paid the same as new entrants who know nothing about the job or the organisation. There are also other people doing the same job as I am being paid £5,000 more purely by dint of having reached the top of the scale before the pay freeze.

      In an organisation where pay progression was expected as you became more effective at your job, how is this fair, morally or ethically?

      Are their any plans to equalise the pay or will we remain forever stuck with this inequality with promotion the only way out? Oh, sorry, forgot, we get punished for getting promotion now with the change in T&Cs.

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Deb posted on

      I am torn as to where to leave my comment, I currently work for the CMG, and have been told by a colleague that the AO's from the Job Centre that are moving across to the CSA, are generally paid more then we are! So much for 'one' DWP! It was bad enough that they were paid more than us when we were all AO's in different roles, but now there are people doing the same job for more money! How to make us feel even more unappreciated than we already do.

  16. Comment by Matt posted on

    As to what the budget actually means for most civil servants:

    Another year of no pay progression
    Another year of an inflation adjustment far below even the most rose-tinted view of inflation
    Another increase in the income tax threshold stolen by increased pension contributions

    In a nutshell, another year of losing even more money while the cost of living continues its inexorable rise, but it's ok, Sir Bob is proud of us and thanks us for our continued hark work and commitment.

    • Replies to Matt>

      Comment by would rather not say posted on

      All, if you think your pay and conditions are so bad, why not leave and get a job somewhere else? We all have transferable skills. I'd suggest that the civil service pay, flexibility and benefits package - even as it declines - is better than what most of us would get elsewhere. Plus our jobs are about serving the public interest, rather than simply generating profit or (usually) earning less in the voluntary and community sector.

      • Replies to would rather not say>

        Comment by Katy Bellamy posted on

        Because leaving to get a job elsewhere is much easier said than done. There is a severe lack of jobs available in many areas, so it's often simply not possible to take a sidestep into employment somewhere else, and being out of work for even a short length of time is not a possibility for many of us; people have mortgages, families and other financial commitments, and not having a steady income would mean having no way to pay for utilities, council tax and other household bills.

        • Replies to Katy Bellamy>

          Comment by Lindsay posted on

          There was report recently that stated employers from the private sector won't employee those from the Civil Service. If I had of known that I wouldn't have left my private sector job! I have been considering leaving my role, but unfortunately there are few jobs locally for my skills and I don't wish to travel to London anymore.

        • Replies to Katy Bellamy>

          Comment by Giles posted on

          Sir Bob, With the comments made by "Rather Not Say" My Wife works for the Civil Service like I do & we have been through numerous office closures and relocations & we face a total travel bill of Over £5,000 per year & have done for several years, Her latest office relocation has given her fixed (Core) hours of 08:30 - 17:00 (NOT FLEXIBLE) we have to leave the house at 05:55 and return at 18:30 (If she is lucky)

          With a average of 1% pay progression this rise does not equate to the annual rise in travel costs, along with the planned rises in Pension contributions & the rumoured National Insurance rises, Maybe the Civil Service (like the police) could get free travel to & from work, at least that way it could be used as a sweetner for 1% progression for the indefinate future.

        • Replies to Katy Bellamy>

          Comment by Sheila posted on

          Many of my colleagues are looking for a way out but good jobs are few and far between,with stiff competition for each and every one. When you look at how many low paid, zero-hours jobs there are in the workplace (and we're not just talking about gthe retail sector either) then it is no surprise that people are sitting tight until they can find something else that covers the bills and puts food on the table.

          I'm in a position where I have had no pay increase for six years now. I firstly ended up a victim of the pay freeze in my old department, then transferred into my current one (to avoid redundancy) and fell victim of the freeze being implemented 12 months after my previous one. I'm also on mark time to such an extent that unless I get promoted I will be stuck on my current pay possibly until just before retirement. So I too have taken the decision to look for something else and move on. In some respects I will not be sorry to go, the civil service that I joined and was once proud to be a member of no longer exists and the only chance i may be have of pay progression is now to join the so-called dreaded private sector.

          • Replies to Sheila>

            Comment by Trying to see a better future posted on

            I'm at bottom of the pay scale, albeit I've paid an RRA from the very first month I joined the CS in Aug 2000 - this has been on Marked Time for the past four years so whilst my gross income has not increased my net pay due to pensions contributions has, and will reduce further still. Couple this with the impending loss of a mileage allowance due to forced relocation my quality of life is on a downward spiral.
            However, despite a total lack of reward and having to cut back on my hobbies, I've put a lot into achieving my very stretching objectives and generally being value for money. I have no faith that the niche role I fulfil will be fairly judged in moderation so another kick in the teeth looms. Whilst I don't fear performance improvement measures I'd like someone to tell me what's in all this for me?

      • Replies to would rather not say>

        Comment by Sam posted on

        Is your name Bob?

      • Replies to would rather not say>

        Comment by Danny posted on

        Here Here!!

      • Replies to would rather not say>

        Comment by Matt posted on

        This kind of thinking is exactly why the MoD for one is spending £400m on contract workers to cover posts it cannot recruit due to offering uncompetitive wages.

        • Replies to Matt>

          Comment by James posted on

          dear "rather not say" - easy really - the age profile in my department is 55% over 50 - if you're over 50, and have been institutionalised for 20 years in the CS and are working somewhere other than London - your chances of getting any sort of job elsewhere are virtually nil. Sir Bob and his friends know this full well, which is why they feel free to get rid of 10% of the staff and create a culture of fear.

    • Replies to Matt>

      Comment by Mark posted on

      You couldn't have put it better. Perfection. I sometimes wonder why I bother to get up in the morning for this relentless job with no reward.

  17. Comment by Matt posted on

    Bob like many civil servants I'm here because the civil service can support flexible working. The pay is rubbish, leadership is shocking, performance management is a joke when my kids are a bit older I will go out and get a better paid job doing half the work and resent every penny of tax that goes to you incompetent muppets at the top of the civil service.

  18. Comment by Brian posted on

    I don't know why you all bother to write responses to these pronouncements. The management are obviously not concerned as to what you think of their policies. The "plough on regardless" comment is entirely accurate.

    • Replies to Brian>

      Comment by Ryan posted on

      I agree Brian. After all, how much credibility could someone have who says that the PMR system has received positive feedback? Sir Bob obviously has little grasp of what is going on in the vast majority of the Civil Service.

      It's rather depressing.

  19. Comment by Sara-Jane posted on

    Sir Bob, If the government is short of cash and civil service pay is being squeezed again why sell off the Land Registry who put money back into the coffers?

  20. Comment by Andrew posted on

    You say you will continue to remove time served pay progression yet it was clear the NHS still are doing this. Many of us took on a job where there was a clear pay path which would see us given a fair wage for the work we do. Only in the Civil Service is a post advertised with a salary that you will never reach. I went from one department where progressive pay was still happening into one that does not. In my current department progressive pay is still awarded to the staff who are not civil servants but are crown servants. It certainly does not feel that 'we are all in this together'.

  21. Comment by Nigel posted on

    So there's a new pilot project for two departments but not for an agency which is self sufficient to the degree of banking millions of pounds?

  22. Comment by Ken posted on

    I agree with Suzanne. The implementation of a pay system which is discretionary will be divisive. Again like pay bonuses the awards will go to those in the higher grades. Those staff on low pay and close to the minimum wage, will in my opinion, miss out. I do not see how such a system can be fair or transparent. We already have issues with pay and staffing never in a million years reaching their maximum payband. We need a fair system where all are rewarded. We are One Civil Service let's stay that way. Let us all get the pay packet we deserve. This is unacceptable in this day and age when pay in the Civil Service has virtually stagnated whilst the cost of living increases daily. This pilot is madness!

  23. Comment by Diane posted on

    And still Civil Servants are scapegoats for the financial crisis in the UK...increase our pension contributions and reduce our pay in real terms.

  24. Comment by Chris posted on

    Perhaps now people will realise how short sighted and blinkered the Unions were in supporting last year's pay deal under the misapprehension that by removing pay progression there would be a bigger 'pot' for pay awards. With the further efficiency programme mentioned above the harsh reality is that we're looking at 1% a year for the next 3-4 years at least. Thanks PCS

    • Replies to Chris>

      Comment by Neil posted on

      You cant blame the PCS for our pay cut - what do expect them to do? Every time a strike is called hardly anyone bothers and the ones that do lose a days wage which we cant afford anyway.

    • Replies to Chris>

      Comment by Not one of the hostages posted on

      A Union is it's Members not it's Officials. I love those who palm the responsability onto somone else for their woes. Do nothing to help yourself and what you'll get is exactly nothing. If you work for a brownie point and let Bob pat you on the head and tell you you're doing a fantastic job don't wonder why you can't buy anything with it down the shop. Well done! Keep up the good work! *ponders if there is a syndrome akin to Stockholm Syndrome where the hostages (workers) feel sorry for their captors (employers)*

  25. Comment by David Hogg posted on

    Ah Sir Bob you're such a tease!

    Your last blog about PMR stirred a lot of interest. This one may not be as potent, but has some lovely little touches.

    My favourite is the stand alone sentence 'We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service'. Especially as it is placed a sentence after 'The key message from me is that there are no new savings sought from departments and no further significant changes to Civil Service pay and pensions'.

    And as for your proud leadership, I'm minded of the leadership of the Judas sheep in a slaughterhouse.

    Keep up the good work!

  26. Comment by Michael posted on

    So you have removed the time served pay and succeeded on creating a divided workforce. There is now a permanent pay difference of 20% in my department, fot the identically qualified people doing exactly the same job. When it comes to PMR, are the people who earn 20% more expected yo deliver 20% extra performance? . Equal pay for equal work? How do you think the lesser earners feel a bout this?

  27. Comment by Michele posted on

    Its interesting to see that Senior Civil Servants will be limited to an average of 1% pay increase this year. This is something the rest of us have already experienced last year: does that mean for those of us further down the pay scale will get even less?

    • Replies to Michele>

      Comment by Lindsay posted on

      We have had a max of 1% not an average of 1%! I believe they (SCS) have had higher awards than the rest of us for the last few years.

      • Replies to Lindsay>

        Comment by Neil A posted on

        Dont forget that 1% of a massive salary is around a months pay to the average worker. The increase should have been a flat increase of eg £500 to everyone instead.

  28. Comment by Andy posted on

    "Talk to your HR Team" - oh how quaint - they were the days when you could go and talk to someone. I worked in HR for about 15 years but fell victim to the "progress" of centralising everything and moving to an alleged "Service" Centre. In HMRC. HR don't publish names, you either ring a central number and talk to someone who works from scripts or are increasingly encouraged to complete an i-form and then wait several weeks if you're lucky to get any response. A member of my team retired on 31/1/14. A week before, she got a letter saying her pension had been recalculated and she was getting far less than previoulsy advised. Six weeks on she is still being bounced between our HR and MyCSP with no satisfactory response (despite directly emailing the HR Director), has no idea what her pension should be and rarely talks to the same person twice. I am in no way being critical of colleagues who work in HR, they are doing their best to operate an HR Model that doesn't work and is designed to save money and put staff off from raising issues. Sir Bob - this seems to be another area where your perception is a long way from the reality.

  29. Comment by Adrian Williams posted on

    Meanwhile, back in the real world this is what the budget actually means for ordinary civil servants : a 1% pay rise in 2014, 2015, 2016 and seemingly beyond that, meaning that we are falling behind inflation indefinitely. Have you got any idea what that does for morale Bob, especially when you add the new PMS into the mix. By the way, do you think it's right that we are recently advertising E0 jobs showing a scale of 20-25k when it's impossible to reach anywhere near the max now that increments have been removed. I recently worked out that on current estimations I would reach the top of my scale in 28 years time - the year I retire. Isn't that fraudulent advertising ?

  30. Comment by Dave posted on

    Strange no reply?? or is that common??

  31. Comment by Eddie posted on

    Sir Bob,
    HR Department????
    No idea what you are talking about!!!!

    • Replies to Eddie>

      Comment by Kevin posted on

      HR? Shared services perhaps??

      • Replies to Kevin>

        Comment by billy d posted on

        Yes. Shared services.

      • Replies to Kevin>

        Comment by Neil. S. posted on

        I think a couple of vowels were dropped in relation to HR, surely its "HeRe today, outsourced tomorrow" We all know it makes financial sense dont we, becase thats what we are all being brow beaten with but in reality its nonsensicle politics in motion, resulting in a lesser and far more expesive service. What next, pehaps we'll offshore our shared servies to make them more cost efficient, worked well in the private sector did it not.

  32. Comment by Dave posted on

    Sir Bob

    And another thing. You haven't told us the source of all the positive feedback about the PMR system.

  33. Comment by GBC posted on

    I'm very happy to hear that they are piloting the pay around who gets rises etc, it sounds more like private sector working practices. Working harder, longer, smarter for no or little pay rise seems to be the direction of travel within the civil service. Also when i compare my pay and conditions to my Local Authority and Private sector contemporaries they do have a much better deal, they have higher pay & bonus payments for good performance. That's why after 16 years i've decided to take the Voluntary Exit Scheme, I'd rather take my risks getting a job in the private sector where (and i do generalise here) you are more likely to get better pay and bonuses when you work hard and long and as to the risks of being made redundant!! l can't see any more security here than out there where many of my friends and famiy work (they think i'm the mug for staying here so long). So rather than keep complaining that the civil service is changing in a way you don't like, and it does have to change, embrace the change or leave.

  34. Comment by Rosemary posted on

    It's always good to see a photo of a 'top' team reflecting diversity!

  35. Comment by Tony posted on

    Sir Bob

    You say "Civil servants aren’t affected by the announcement today which abolishes the effective requirement to buy an annuity to access your pension."

    The assumption that underlies this comment is that civil servants will have spent their entire working lives in the civil Service, and will not have any private pension arrangements from previous employments. This is not necessarily so. Some civil servants with private sector experience will have transferred their private pension arrangements into the Civil Service schemes, some will not. Those who have not will need to consider their options carefully.

  36. Comment by Paul posted on

    Dear Sir Bob

    I note your comments regarding savings. After leaving university I was party to the implementation of the 'Cabinet Office Efficiency Unit' which was at the time collecting data on expenditure and savings. This was 1996, and government departments were struggling to get data of sufficient quality together for submission to the unit. It appears that, now that I have found myself back in the Civil Service, I discover that budgets are still being managed on spreadsheets and these are generally not linked to each other, which is why we continually have to provide finance with corrections. Yet, they are unable to provide me with an accurate view of expenditure against projects. Is there a plan to ensure that all projects and programmes are captured on a system which links purposeful electronic systems to time sheets, project management tools and finance? I only ask because with the current systems and processes, it is unlikely that we will find out an accurate position from which to develop savings.

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by Beverley posted on

      There are some bits of the civil service where there are purposeful electronic systems linked to time sheets, managing budget and giving detailed costs against projects and programmes. We're not all in the dark ages - throw away those spreadsheets and come into the light!

  37. Comment by Barry posted on

    Why are you cutting HMRCs budget when we could be collecting more of the money we are owed ? Lets close the tax gap COMPLETELY. we need to collect EVERY PENNY of tax that is owed to us.

  38. Comment by Timothy posted on

    Having spent over 30 years in various private sector companies, large and small before joining the Civil Service in 2006 I have serious misgivings about giving department managers discretion over pay. Firstly this will increase the managers workload as they will now be involved in pay negotiations that they were excluded from previously. Secondly staff will inevitably spend some of their time attempting to influence their managers to pay them more. From my personal experience in the private sector where departments have responsibility for setting individuals pay, the result of this move will in many cases result in good quality, committed and hard working staff being paid less than prople who spend more time currying favour with their managers than getting the job done.

    • Replies to Timothy>

      Comment by Sheila H posted on

      I hope (sadly) this will not happen. It certainly would encourage good people to leave.

    • Replies to Timothy>

      Comment by Mike O posted on

      My background, and my consequent observations, as very similar to yours. It will be a huge challenge to ensure that the right diversity of talent and integrity (the first essential to any organistaion, the second to any that aspires to serve or to be a force for good in society) is maintained in the face of initiatives likely to favour the growth of cronyism.

    • Replies to Timothy>

      Comment by Sheila posted on

      And of course of you give managers discretion over who gets what, if any, pay award then the whole thing will become as pernicious as PM. The favoured few will capture the lions share of the pay pot, whilst the rest are left to scramble over each other for a hope of the crumbs that are left.

  39. Comment by KTL posted on

    Sir Bob - I'd like to make a comment on what you said about Progression Pay.

    As far as I'm aware, few civil service depts now have automatic progression in any case. However the wider question about progression is certainly a debate that will continue. In my own dept there hasn't been any progression pay since 2009 and whilst this is what the Government wants it has led to a situation where many people are still on the bottom of a payband after 5 years in the job. My feeling is you can't have paybands if there is no progression. Otherwise some people are in the situation where they are paid 20% less for doing the same job as their co-workers ad infinitum. This is just not not acceptable.

    The equality and human rights commission, on their website, makes the point that where employers are using paybands then progression policy must be clear and transparent. Anything else is risky practise which could be challenged in employment tribunals.
    My view is that If there's no progression then paybands have to go and there must be a set rate for the grade.

    • Replies to KTL>

      Comment by David posted on

      This sort of blog just serves to infuriate and demotivate more than anything else. (John 23/3/14) asks a good question. I am surrounded by colleagues that are paid more than me (some by more than 2k a year) because they are more “experienced”. The fact I have other experience outside the department counts for nothing. Neither does the fact I helped train many of them to do their current jobs! When I applied for the job I was promised pay progression and that I would reach the top of within 5 years. Yes, (Adrian 21/3/14) it IS false advertising. Jobs are still advertised this way despite is being a lie - there is no scale. I have long considered this to be illegal in some way but have struggled to know what to do as I’m told you “can’t sue the crown” which the department represents. I thank (KTL 21/3/14) for pointing me at the Equality and Human Rights Commission information.

      (Adrian 21/3/14) says he will reach the top of the pay bank in 28 year's time. This is incorrect. Those near the top of a “band“ (quotes, as I fail to see how we can call it a “band” or “scale” without progression) still get a 1% rise. The top of the band moves to allow this. Those lower in the “scale” get less of a rise than those above and so actually get further away from the top – and their colleagues - every year.

      This is not something to be proud of, Sir Bob, you should be ashamed. And I really feel this will come back to bite. Consider the current plight of Birmingham’s City council…

    • Replies to KTL>

      Comment by Pete posted on

      A propos pay progression, there is none in my Department, time served or otherwise, yet external adverts continue to show a pay range. I would be interested to see the result of a legal challenge by a new entrant who discovers that no such pay range exists.

    • Replies to KTL>

      Comment by Maccy D posted on


      Don't you think that this has been the ploy all along. Over the preceeding years the lower spines swept everone except the minority of "Old School" staff had previously who benefitted from racing up to the top of the scale in the old system and have been up their ever since. Bring that now up to today, or maybe in one or two years time where those "Old School" Personnel will now leave, thus emptying the upper spines of any staff whatsoever. That can then be argued by the Higher management for a method of cutting the grade range down from the top one spine at a time, as there will be nobedy left in that spine point to object!!!!
      Just a theory, but more than likely to be a reality!

    • Replies to KTL>

      Comment by Peter posted on

    • Replies to KTL>

      Comment by Sam posted on

      There will be - the lowest point in the lowest paying department. Those at a higher point will remain on mark time until everyone else catches up (if they are luck). There, who needs an expensive consultant to come up with the answer.

      • Replies to Sam>

        Comment by KTL posted on

        Agree - While austerity is still here, and it will be for some years years yet. Either get rid of pay bands altogether and set a rate for the grade which sadly wouldn't be at the current max or use all the 1%'s to fund progression rather than across the board pay rises.

        Either way the people at the top of the band would not see a pay rise for years - but is what I'm suggesting fairer (or at least less unfair) than the current situation when everyone gets 1% which simply makes the gap between the top and bottom of the paybands even greater.

        • Replies to KTL>

          Comment by DfE hard worker posted on

          Not all civil servants at SEO grade and below have received a 1% increase. Those who came in from other agencies may be "marking time" re pay. They may have thought they used to be paid a reasonable salary for their skills but never actually get a pay increase. All we have to look forward to is watching the top if the band inching its way very, very slowly towards what we are are paid. This has been going on for 4 years already with no likelihood of any improvement soon.

          • Replies to DfE hard worker>

            Comment by Andrew posted on

            I am fortunate (I think) to be on maximum HEO pay in my Department, but that means I have had no pay rise whatsoever in the last four years. My gross salary has remained unchanged since June 2010, but my net pay after the latest rise in pension contributions will be 1.5% less than what I 'took home' that month.

            There is now no pay progression for colleagues below the maximum - nothing to reward good performance with. And tight restrictions/quotas on how many top performers can enjoy a 'one off' annual performance bonus means there is little financial incentive to do anything more than an acceptable job.

            Having said that, despite the enforced pensions contributions, it is true that our pension scheme is still a good one. I just find it frustrating that I signed up to terms and conditions that clearly gave certain pension expectations and now I'm having to change my retirement plans. Our non-contributory pension was a major factor in my career choice and whilst I know it effectively adds 18% to my gross salary, I still don't think it was right to change it for those already in it for (say) more than half their working life.

  40. Comment by Stuart Holttum posted on

    Sir Bob - on your last blog, you gave the message out yet again that the 10/70/20 is a guided distribution and that staff should not be forced into the incorrect band just to "meet quota". There is ample evidence that, despite repeated directives from yourself and others that this should not happen, there are still managers - some quite senior - who are directing that this should happen.

    May I ask again please: what action would you expect to see taken against managers who are so clearly going against your specific instructions?

  41. Comment by Phil posted on

    "...a new pilot project which will give departments more freedom to manage their pay bills. This new initiative will be trialled in DEFRA and the Intellectual Property Office. These departments will be required to live within an overall pay budget, but it will be at their discretion who they award pay increases to, and how much."

    Thus negating one of the justifications for removing Land Registry from the Civil Service.

    • Replies to Phil>

      Comment by Andy Vickers posted on

      well done.......hit the nail on the head. The LR consultation has come to an end and Sir Bob will hold his telescope to his blind eye and pronounce "cuts!? I see no cuts"

  42. Comment by Jenny posted on

    Sir Bob,

    I work in the MOD and we do not have an HR Dept so I cannot contact them to raise queries about the new PAR system. I, like all other employees, are reduced to trying to glean any information we can from the Intranet, but unfortunately that isn't promulgated in a timely fashion. I can of course contact the Defence Business Services organisation (our shared HR transactional service provider) but I only get through to an admin grade who reads from a script and can only point me in the direction of the Intranet and tell me what I can already read on the screen. There is no deep understanding of the policy or its application so we are left to navigage our way through, rumour, gossip, half truths, different ways of managing the process etc, etc which is not very satisfactory. Could we please return to dedicated local HR support for staff. I feel that the loss of this valuable resource and support has had a detrimental effect on the business / Dept. The Civil Service would not function without its people and in order to manage the people and provide suitable support, advice and governance we need dedicated HR that understands the particular business, this is particularly true in the MOD where there is a huge diversity and challenge. If you truly value your staff, then bring back HR as a valued profession to deliver what is needed.

    • Replies to Jenny>

      Comment by janet posted on

      I completely agree with the comments that we need people to talk to who understand. I am due to retire soon and each time I have rung the pension help line the person just reads robotically the text on their screen. When I ask a question they cannot help and then starts to read out another part of of the guidance. I feel completely let down. I do have an HR telephone number to ring - when I did I was advised to read guidance or ring the pension help line!! I feel that claimants are better treated than I have been, at least they can have a conversation with someone.

    • Replies to Jenny>

      Comment by Graeme R (MoD) posted on

      But will a single, central, HR unit ensure a consistent standard of advice across the Department? - I hope that, in the days when there were local HR outfits, most of them would advise management teams of the need to have the self-discipline to respect their own local policy and not to use disciplinary procedure concerning reasonable instruction as a vehicle for forcing junior staff to accept de-facto personal terms and conditions. Better to have to wait for good advice than to instantly receive dodgy advice?

  43. Comment by Peter posted on

    I dont undertand why you are continuing to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service. Its a throw away line but the implications are huge. Explain the benefits of this please because I am sorry I just dont see them. So we now have a whole raft of more inequality across pay scales. How does that motivate people? One can be in a grade for a period of years and then someone can be promoted and receive an 8% pay rise and ovetake a whole group that are still chained to the lower end of pay scales. It is actaully beyond belief.
    So when are you going to link PMR to pay rises? Because that is you plan isnt it?

    • Replies to Peter>

      Comment by Andrew posted on

      already happening in those departments that have been trialling it.

  44. Comment by Tony posted on

    Sir Bob,
    I joined the civil service in 1985 as a junior leader in the Royal Engineers, I have worked hard and given the service 110%, The hard work paid off and I have achieved he rank of G7.
    Last year this cost me my marriage of 21 years, I took no sick and continued to work full time with the pressure of a messy divorce going on in the background and 4 kids to look after.
    Under your new performance management I have been place in the 10% needs to improve section because I was the soft option with my home life being quoted as the reason for this. I have also been told I need to aspire to be an SCS, Y? Maybe there should be a box for people like me who love there job, know there level and continue to produce the goods daily

    • Replies to Tony>

      Comment by Disillusioned posted on

      Tony, if you are a Grade 7 why is your spelling and grammar so atrocious! I'd expect more from someone at your grade who 'continues to deliver the goods'.

      I also agree with everything everyone has said. Come on Sir Bob, answer your critics please instead of putting a positive spin on everything?

      • Replies to Disillusioned>

        Comment by Pedantier posted on

        Disillusioned (21/03/2014), you committed the cardinal sin of criticising someone's grammar whilst simultaneously making several mistakes yourself. "why is your spelling and grammar so atrocious" - or as we might say in English "why are your spelling and grammar so atrocious" - is a question and merits a question mark. "answer your critics please instead of putting a positive spin on everything?" is not and does not.

        I hope you will understand that I only point this out because you chose to leave a comment criticising the spelling and grammar of a poster who complained about, inter alia, a marriage breakdown, rather than engage with his points.

      • Replies to Disillusioned>

        Comment by McCaskey posted on

        I am grade A0 and have bad spelling, but fail to see why a grade 7 or what would be expected to have good spelling. Some journlists have bad spelling some writers have bad spelling.

        With computors does not matter so much.

        Although may be having bad spelling makes me bias so i assume does not matter as its more conveient for me to have this view?

      • Replies to Disillusioned>

        Comment by john smith posted on

        Disillusioned has a small "thing" some people say he is underfunded in certain departments

      • Replies to Disillusioned>

        Comment by DfE hard worker posted on

        To Disillusioned, comments should keep to the point of the discussion and not become personal (re spelling) - when typing a reply it is very easy to submit and not realise you've left in a typo; and there doesn't appear to be a way to edit your own comment once it's been submitted.

  45. Comment by Anne posted on

    Sir Bob,

    I was not aware that the removal of pay progression was a policy, naively believing it was a temporary austerity measure and patiently awaiting the time when my salary at the bottom of my pay scale might match my colleagues at the top. The differential is over £100 per week

  46. Comment by anon posted on

    This is all sooo depressing!!

  47. Comment by Francesca Bowbrick posted on

    Sir Bob,

    As a communication tool this blog appears to be very one sided. You announce and allows us to reply and then apparrently ignore all comments. If this is how you think collabrative working operates you are sadly mistaken. Paying 'lip service' to Civil Servants has never worked well - all you are doing is infuriating people, which makes us all less cooperative and drives up union membership. Well done you!

    • Replies to Francesca Bowbrick>

      Comment by Mike O posted on

      "Apparently ignore all comments". That might not be quite true. With my cynics hat on, I suspect comments are studied carefully so that a well crafted reply can be composed that appears to empathise and be supportive, whilst actually making no concessions on a line agreed long ago by 'them' on how civil servants are to be dealt with. All this may be understandable, but like all 'ends justify the means' thinking, it pre-supposes that the originators have got it right about what constitutes the best, the most lastingly successful, outcome/ends. History is littered with examples of this approach unravelling, sooner or later. Put bluntly (to quote you), sooner or later, the majority don't much like being kicked in the teeth.

  48. Comment by Leon Tamcken posted on

    Dear Sir Bob,
    Yet again another year of no pay progression. It is simply impossible to move up the pay scales in your grade. No one at HR can provide any answer on HOW and WHEN you can achieve the maximum for your pay grade. We now have Civil Servants who have worked here for over 25 years (aged 40 / 50+) on the maximum, with other Civil Servants (most mainly of a younger age) never progressing towards the maximum (in my case after 13 years employment). Is this not a case of AGE DISTRIMINATION and goes against the EQUALITIES ACT? It simply is not acceptable that we do not have a clearly defined policy or time frame on how you achieve your maximum pay. Stop moving the goal posts!

  49. Comment by steve posted on

    Sir Bob - if the CS successfully made 10 billion efficiency savings last year, does that mean the we were so inefficient previously? That being the case who carries the accountability for that inefficiency. In such circumstances within the private sector we would have seen major changes to senior leadership positions. I can't remember any within CS!!

  50. Comment by Bryan posted on

    'We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service.' - Thank's for that - another area of deep concern for Civil Servants. Just one sentence - not even an apology!

  51. Comment by Matthew posted on

    More 1% pay rises? With inflation consistently running ahead of this I dread to think how much of a "real terms" pay cut we have suffered in recent years, not to mention paying more contributions for a worse pension.

    • Replies to Matthew>

      Comment by Matt posted on

      3% a year compounded in denied progression increases for coming on 5 years so far = ~15.93% reduction in annual salary, your actual lost income = year 1 rise x5 + year 2 rise x4 etc.

      Inflation by the "best" measure (CPI) according to the ONS was 3.5% in 2010, 4.5% in '11 2.8% in '12 and 2.6% in '13, even allowing for the 1% uprate last year total devaluation of salary stands at ~11.6% over 2010-13.

      I'll let you work your own loses out but mine are standing close to a years post tax salary so far.

      • Replies to Matt>

        Comment by John Robinson posted on


        Without even factoring in the rate of inflation and just looking at the progression I have missed out on I am astonished.
        I am by no means high up the scale - C2 but I certainly could have got a nice new car for what I have missed out on.

        Come on Sir Bob put this right

  52. Comment by G L Um posted on

    Sir Bob

    It's interesting you should mention your new pilot project which will give departments more freedom to manage their pay bills.

    First, I note Civil Service World’s ( change of tone when reporting this measure from:

    "This measure would allow departments to spend more on senior recruitment if they wished to"


    “This measure will give the departments greater freedom in deciding salaries, although there will still be demarcation between SCS pay and non-SCS pay, preventing pay from being totally skewed towards the senior grades.”

    So was Civil Service World's first report made in error? Or, where they merely reporting an earlier draft of press release, perhaps redrafted to make it more palatable for public consumption? Perhaps you could enlighten us?

    Secondly, you say “it will be ‘departments’ (sic) discretion who they award pay increases to, and how much”. Do you seriously expect rank and file public servants to believe this will be a good thing?

    If you have learnt anything from your recent EYR blogs, it should be the clear message that few of us have any confidence and trust has been lost. I personally find it hard to believe this measure will be fairly implemented. And, I believe the odds are high that it degenerates into an undignified scramble by senior managers to enrich themselves, further undermining morale and trust.


  53. Comment by thefarside posted on

    "Pay awards will be limited to an average of 1% for Senior Civil Servants", glad to hear this, however, are performance bonuses for the SCS going to be increased/used to compensate the reduced pay award to the SCS? Or are these performance bonuses for the SCS going to be capped as well (or even scrapped)?

  54. Comment by mrs christine howick posted on

    I've sat here this morning and read Bob's comments and all the comments listed above, which is something I never normally do. I have found this a very depressing read and I agree with everything that everyone has said.

    I used to be very happy about being a civil servant but not any more. The pay rises are not keeping up with the cost of living and haven't done for some time now. The union does nothing to help with that or any other changes that are being brought in.

    Every new initiative or change be it to conditions, pay or performence management always seems to be a kick in the teeth for the majority of us and any changes don't seem improve things it just makes life harder and more stressful. We are encouraged to make our opinions known but most people don't as it's quite obvious no one reads them as nothing every changes.

    • Replies to mrs christine howick>

      Comment by Nicola posted on

      Christine, you are spot on here. Everything you say rings true with my thoughts also.

      At a 'rousing' all staff floor meeting last year our Director of Science, Engineering and Analysis and Chemical Regulations was asked a question about what the Diretorate Management Team were planning to do about the results of the staff survey (which identified particularly low staff engagement) and the very low staff morale. He mentioned that we were bound by higher ups and sadly this next part is verbatim "If you don't like it, leave". Way to take ownership of a serious issue there boss. Add in increasing pressure to deliver more and more on less and less (there are only so many efficiency savings you can make before you compromise on quality) staff are feeling increasingly undervalued. Those people (of which I would include myself) that are usually unflappable are feeling actively stressed. Worker harder, longer, get paid less, struggle to pay your bills. Unfortunately a lot of good people with a lot of experience are taking the advice from the head of our DMT and leaving. We have just been through a recruitment round for another 25 or so staff. There were a dozen or so recruited the year before too. Those of us that are left are to train them whilst still delivering our day job. Oh and due to the new 'buy out' of contractual pay progression some of us get paid a lot less than our colleagues whom deliver exactly the same work at exactly the same level.

      The Civil Service is becoming increasingly broken. The 'Top of the Ivory Tower' view of making it better only serves to break it more for us plebs at the bottom. About time someone took some real action and dealt with the true issues before the ship sinks completely.

  55. Comment by Jean posted on

    Sir Bob,

    My comments on your blog are as follows:

    There is little chance of me having a meaningful dialogue with HR about performance management as they are so under resourced. However, I would like to note that the new Performance Management System is taking an inordinate amount of time out of the working day for many staff trying to justify their performance. It seems that the higher the grade the more time spent whilst lower grades in some areas are restricted as they have to contribute to targets.

    It is a relief that there are no new savings sought but it seems that there is no investment either, even when it would lead to positive results for taxpayers such as debt collection in HMRC. Any financial gains that Civil Servants might have made from the budget will be offset by increased pension contributions. Regarding the pay pilot, I have several concerns. Could Sir Bob confirm whether the pilots are about how the 1% will be distributed by Senior Management in the Departments mentioned. If so will there be any inbuilt checks and balances to discourage favouratism? Also, will there be any meaningful consultation with the trade unions?

  56. Comment by David Rennie posted on

    I'm surprised to read that Sir Bob wants to remove time-served pay progression. Really?? I have previously approached Robert Devereux and our HR Directors about my inability to ever reach the maximum in my pay scale as an AO. I'm in my 9th year at the CSA and no matter how long I work I cannot see me reaching the maximum, let alone ever get promotion (there has been none in my CSA office for over 6 years). Three years or so ago the Department said it would get people to the top of the scale ASAP. This did not happen. There is a rate for the job yet after 8-9 years I am only 42% of the way to the top of my scale. There's less than £3000 difference between the top and bottom of the AO scale & I believe CSA AOs work at a decision-making level that would be equivalent to higher salaries in HMRC and DWP. Bob Kerslske - If you're serious about it then do it NOW. (I won't be holding my breath)

  57. Comment by Garry posted on

    I think one of the central issues with the performance management system which makes it unpopular and distrusted isn't in the design of the policy so much as its application at the operational level. This manifests itself with messages to reporting managers that we "expect" to hit the curve. The policy allows us not to, but the expectation and the message is we will hit it. That can translate into you will hit it once SENIOR operational managers apply the target culture to it. Equally and to be balanced, our own staff attitude surveys regulalrly say we (mgrs) don't tackle poor performance effectively so we do need to fix that as there are staff who need to improve on performance and behaviours. It's managers not tackling those effectively I suspect that leads to the expectations x number will be in this or that category - its a kinda prod to managers to mark accurately.

    My suggestion Sir Bob is have your senior managers (Regional Directors down) ensure we apply the policy as its intended and written - give some firm steers on that.

  58. Comment by David Rennie posted on

    Incidentally, there has not been any time-served progression per se in my 8-9 years at the CSA although I was promised this at my interview in May 2005. The only progression up the invisible steps of my scale (and Robert Devereux confirmed to me that there are no actual points in the scale) was when movement was imposed instead of a pay increase. It's hardly encouraging that you say you're going to get rid of the progression in the same paragraph as stating that SCS colleagues will be restricted to 1% rise this year (and 10% must fall into the "must improve" category - thus zero pay rise)

  59. Comment by John McKee posted on

    I was going to try and write something pithy in reply to Sir Bob's latest blog, but to be quite honest I have lost the will to engage. Nothing will change, in fact it looks like things are set to get a whole lot worse. Which answers the question "Can things get any worse". I am afraid it is time to admit defeat, but that does not mean we should go quietly into the night. We have to continue in our efforts to make our voices heard, albiet in the sure and certain knowledge we will be at best ignored and and worse patronised.

  60. Comment by Simon posted on

    Why was it necessary to highlight that SCS are limited to an average 1% pay rise? The rest of us have had that inflicted on us for years - should we now worry whether we're getting an increase at all?

    The longer these messages are put out with NO real reply to staff's concerns (or even an acknowledgement of them), the clearer it becomes that we are being treated with outright contempt.

  61. Comment by Jayne posted on

    I joined the Court Service in 2004 and now aged 53, feel that I am trapped in a position that has no real prospects of a decent pay rise but realistically will see court closures in my remaining time within the service. It's a sad future for many and at my time of life I am seriously thinking of going back into the private sector. The lure of the Civil Service has always been job security and good pensions but this bubble has truly burst! The frustration of no pay rise over the last 3 years and no thought given to the loyalty of staff who have given the public good service is maybe a step too far.

  62. Comment by Phil posted on

    What discussion do you have with Minister about CS pay and conditions and the impact of zero and below inflation pay increases on moral and motivation?

  63. Comment by Empty Wallet posted on

    So we will be getting a 1% payrise (which is taxable, which means you will be taking more money back!) so in my case, instead of getting £22500, i get £22725! WOW!, that will really help me when going out to shop especially when the price of food has gone up, price of public transport, price of petrol is nearing the 130p/l mark again, council tax is on the rise, the gas supplier is looking to wrench every single penny they can from everyone, same with electricity.

    i then have to go out during the weekend to earn extra cash just so i can help pay the mortgage (once again, second income taxable on emergancy rate).

    I have a young family, which i only see either first thing in the morning or after 8 in the evenings, during the weekends if i am not at work (which is a rareity).

    I look down the road and see families on benefits where they have multiple children dressed in designer lables, you see the mother and father, both as health as an ox, just taking life easy, not working having to earn a single penny, who have never contributed to the system, and by the looks of it, they never will as the government keeps on giving them a free ride, yet screwing the people who go out there, on a daily basis to provide for thier family and loved ones.

    The 1% increase is more like an insult considering that the civil service has been bearing the brunt of the recession that was caused by the banks (who give thier employees a heft bonus for doing what they should be doing)

  64. Comment by Marian posted on

    For experienced skilled staff, with a professional approach, there's no reward. Living standards will continue to decline under these policies and there's no end in sight - no hope. Many will leave or are already leaving for better valued work elsewhere. Why is progression pay denigrated through calling it "time served" pay? Why noy call it "experience earned" pay. The reason for progression pay is that people were not initially employed at the "rate for the job" but had to earn it over time acquiring the experience and skills to do it well. There are aready mechanisms to address situations where people are not working well. it's just a question of whether people employ those mechanisms effectively or not. Efficiency has increased because government departments are maintaining output with fewer staff.

  65. Comment by Noel posted on

    It does rather depress me to read only negative comments in this string. I have worked in the CS now for 8 years and having worked in the private sector, public sector and self employment beforehand I think life in the CS compares very favourably indeed. I have been subject to a pay freeze and we do not have incremental pay progression either. The CS is a large and very expensive machine to run and if the country cannot afford it well it has got to take decisions. If I get to the point where so many things that are happening hack me off, well I will look for employment elsewhere. No one has to stay in the CS. In the meantime I like working for the CS and I get the fact that it needs to reform and become more efficient. Having local authority over some pay decisions is a good idea I think.

    • Replies to Noel>

      Comment by Mike O posted on

      I sort of both agree and disagree with you.

      One the one hand:

      You say "and if the country cannot afford it well it has got to take decisions", but it could be said that we seem able to print money to give to banks that don't use it for the purposes intended: lending to businesses who might create those jobs that might allow people to look elsewhere than here for work. Instead, it could be said, banks rewards senior executives for questionable performance (including, or excepting, depending on your point of view, reducing terms and conditions for its workers, and/or reducing UK workforce headcount).

      Interestingly, there is a growing recognition in public health investment, that investing in healthier lifestyles for deprived communities (through community gardening, for example) will in time cut the cost of the NHS to the taxpayer from diseases linked to inactivity and depression. A similar argument could be made for printing money so that people could remain in dignified (stress that!) work and be able to provide for their families, until or unless more useful, suitable employment is available out in the private sector. What is the cost to the taxpayer, and to the nations human resources, when communities are blighted by (long term) unemployment. Do we actually save UK plc money by shedding civil service jobs, or do we just displace costs?

      On the other hand (and speaking as a private sector worker until redundancy and unemployment brought me here at 50+):

      I thank goodness for a job here, as the private sector (and its corporate vanity I suspect) saw me as too old to be useful in the kind of work I used to do. I like very much bringing (where I am able to - discuss!) a bit of old private sector SME pragmatism to work I'm tasked with doing here. And I at least have a blog where I can air my views with just a chance they'll be listened to. I think those who have had years of secure civil service employment must remember (and I'm sure they do) that job insecurity, periodic unemployment (and modest wages actually) have stalked many private sector workers for many years now. And remember, £30k salary one year and out of work the next = £15k salary when spread over both those years. And that's without factoring in the cost to health and peace of mind of worrying where the next job might come from.

    • Replies to Noel>

      Comment by Kenny posted on

      Well said Sir Bob

  66. Comment by Shandyman posted on

    Eleven years ago I came in to the Pension Service on the promise of being on my max in five years this was as a band b, needless to say straight after I joined the progression virtually ceased which meant until about five years ago when I went for a Band C post externally advertised and applied for I went to the bottom of band C. Five years on and I'm still on the bottom of C. Supposedly the reason for the pay scale is to aknowledge and compensate those who have been doing the job longest and know what they are doing so is the plan just to string everyone along until those on their max either retire, die or get sick of the 1% pay rise (I use the word rise loosely) additionally if we are one Civil Service why are different areas paid different rates still, if our Union had any sense we would be taking this to EU court also Pensions we signed a contract with specified work and conditions and effectively the Governemnt 'as an employer' tore this up breach of contract anyone, whu not give everyone a VE package then you can let Capita rule the world.

  67. Comment by Wendy Turner posted on

    Sir Bob,
    More unhappy people, demoralised and exhausted by the treatment we are receiving. The 'efficiency savings' are cuts that are damaging our Departments. We are reaching the stage where we cannot do our jobs properly; where individuals are trying to keep their heads above water, doing work previously done by more people and usually at a higher grade.
    Our reward? Further vilification from the press and the government promugating the perception that public services are a waste of money (except when there are floods, obv. The private sector didn't run in there to help!).
    I had a look at some old wage slips the other day, from 2009 to now, my monthly take home pay has increased by a whole seven pounds, yes £7 per month. In that time I've had a pitiful 0.7% pay rise. Any benefits from changes to the tax thresholds more than swallowed by increases to my pension payments (my pension for which I will work longer and get less, despite paying more. What a good deal!).
    As for the end of pay progression, I look forward to seeing everyone being moved to the top of their pay scale. Dream on! I foresee a lot of claims for pay discrimination. How much will that cost the government to fight?
    We expess ourselves honestly on this blog even though we know it will change nothing, we'll receive a couple of empty platitudes, but no-one will actually take on board what see say and feel.
    Are you not concerned?
    Never mind, the chancellor has knocked a penny off a pint, buy 300 get one free! Woo!

  68. Comment by David Rennie posted on

    As you will have noted (though very probably don't care about) your previous performance review whitewash statement generated an overwhelmingly hostile response from your colleagues. One of the reasons has to be that it is not transparent and each year I see those whose faces fit get the higher/top awards and see others be victimised. How on earth do you think giving a department to ability to manage its pay budget by giving pay increases to its Chosen Few sycophants will work? My management are already happy to misuse their powers and this would make it so much worse. Come and sit in my seat for a week Bob Kerslake - then you'll see what the DoubleSpeak really means.

  69. Comment by Andrew Johnston posted on

    Im a civil servant..... GET ME OUT OF HERE!

  70. Comment by Janet B posted on

    I despair!
    I hope than in reality Sir Bob is horrified by the PMR fiasco and is taking urgent measures behind the scenes to sort the mess out. Unfortunately the damage to morale, trust & confidence will take a lot to repair and requires swift and decisive leadership.
    The pay scale progression fiasco also needs to be addressed as the longer it goes on the more unfair it becomes.

  71. Comment by Fred Bare posted on

    Bob K

    Things are very different outside of the hallowed halls of the SCS, pension pots are simply not enough to live on and we are forced to work into what should be our time to reap the rewards of a long and hard working life.
    I have habitually put in extra hours in the cause of excellent delivery but that stops here and now. The complete disregard of moral, the removal of our ability to keep pace with rising living costs and general arrogance from leaders who have no money worries of their own has made me realise that doing what I must rather than what I can is fair return .
    This saddens me but it's the way I have been made to feel...

  72. Comment by Still Slightly Miffed posted on

    Sir Bob,

    Thank you for your kind words, and releaving me of all my previous fears about working in the civil service.

    I am approaching 5 years in the Civil Service. A mere novice, or at least I must be as I am still on the minimum on the EO pay band. Now I know it is policy not to let anyone progress in their pay band, I am wondering why I am now being discriminated against, as there are at least 6 peaople doing the same job as me within 30 feet of me right now that are all on at least £3000 per year more than me.

    Once again we are expected to celebrate we are getting 1%, against the latest infaltion figure of 1.9%, and will get about an extra £100, due to the personal allowance being raised.

    Has anyone told my local authourity that inflation is 1.9% and my pay rise is 1%, as concil tax has gone up 2.4%. I dread to think how much British Gas will raise their prices again this year.

    At least I have a job, I should celebrate that fact.

    That is the message loud and clear from all levels of management in DWP, from SEO upwards.

    Name withheld for fear of reprisals.

    • Replies to Still Slightly Miffed>

      Comment by Matt posted on

      You won't even get the £100, the latest increase in pension contributions will snap that up the same as the previous

  73. Comment by DAC posted on

    Sir Bob - A 3 year Pay freeze, increased pension contributions, more work, less staff and no chance of ever reaching the max in my pay band added to the rising cost of living, I'm sorry but what did the budget 2014 mean for Civil Servants??? Nothing, nothing at all.

    The next time my bills land on my doormat I will be sure to pass your thanks for my hard work on Sir Bob, see if they will accept that.

  74. Comment by David posted on

    This is such a depressing read. almost 30 years a civil servant. had my first 5 years been like the last five i'm sure i would not have stayed.

  75. Comment by L posted on

    "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service."
    The facts are:
    - You still have maximum and minimum and a starting scale advertised for new jobs without a chance of ever reaching their max. This is false advertising;
    - Staff are stuck on different levels of the pay scale doing equivalent jobs without a chance of ever reaching their max. I personally have worked in the department for over 23 years and have never been on my maximum pay.
    This is blatently unfair. What more is there to say.

  76. Comment by Chris posted on

    Sir Bob, In relation to the removal of time served progression. I work in an Agency (part of Home Office with lowest pay in department despite having best customer feedback in government) which abolished performance pay over a decade ago.
    The result of this is that -
    1. Staff are stuck at the bottom of scales for years, with virtually no chance of real progression and absolutely no prospect of getting near "Target Pay"
    2. The remedy used for this is to trickle those at bottom up while leaving Target Pay frozen (EO grades have had a £100 increase in Target Pay in past 9 years, others up to SEO have fared little better.
    3. The effects on this has serious implications for our pensions as retirees with same service leave with same package which was being offered 9 years ago (Is this really progress in one of the worlds richest economies) while the people who retired 9 years ago have had reasonable rises so new retirees are significantly worse off than previous generations.

    I personally agree with scrapping progression pay - if Target Pay is the rate for the job then all employees should be on this rate (or at least have an acceptable way to reach it following a period of probation) and this should be without Target Pay being frozen endlessly which is nothing more than a cheap way to cut pensions for future retirees.

  77. Comment by stephen chapman posted on

    I too agree with the vast majority of comments on here. But I have another question which I feel needs to be answered.

    Who can defend or justify the huge pay rises of politically appointed SPADs that have been reported of late? 14% for one, 12% for another in the Home Office, 36% for one in DWP. Are these for real? I am heartily disgusted by the hypocrisy.

    In the Home Office we were all asked to gather for a talk from the Home Sec and Perm Sec yesterday. That took about half an hour out of the day for several thousand of us. It's a shame that all we learned was that the Home Sec had launched a boat recently. Thanks - but at least it wasn't an announcement that every third one of us or so will no longer have a job. (I guess that one will come along in due course though, albeit not delivered in person by either the Home Sec or Perm Sec).

  78. Comment by Disgruntled posted on

    I remember when I got my job as a Civil Servant, my Dad saying to me, "congratulations son, good job that".
    If one of my children was now to say to me that they were thinking of applying for a job somewhere within the Civil Service, my response would be,
    "don't bother, it's garbage! You'll be undervalued and not paid adequately for the work that you do. You could be doing the same job as the person sat next to you, but they have been doing the same job for umpteen years (but be less productive than you), so you do it for 40% less pay than them - with no hope of ever achiveing their level of pay. In addition to that, you will have to complete the most ridiculously time consuming performance appraisals imaginable. Oh and have I mentioned that your pay won't go up at the same rate as inflation. Oh and you'll pay more for your pension but get less out at the end of the day. Oh, and by the time you do come to retire you will be 88 years old".
    "Thanks Dad, think I'll go for that job at the supermarket instead".
    "Yep, you'd do right to do that".

  79. Comment by Charlie McDonald posted on

    Mrs C Howick is incorrect to say, 'The Union does nothing to help with (pay rises...not keeping up with the cost of living) or any other changes that are being brought in.' I was on strike three times last year over a number of issues, including pay. The union has opposed other detrimental changes to terms and conditions but it doesn't have a veto. You might say the Union hasn't done enough but to say it's done nothing is plain wrong.

  80. Comment by Jo posted on

    Whilst I find the comments above about pay progression totally understandable, life isn't rosy when you get to the top of the scale either (after many a long year). I've had no 'pay rise' at all, as the 1% was more than used up by allocating it to those who have been contractually entitled to pay progression. Then as if that didn't equate to a pay cut in 'real terms', we're asked to pay more for the pension which is becoming plated with something far less attractive than gold [and of course, when you scrape off gold plating, you tend to find base metal anyway]! Yes, it's difficult to get it right. But we most certainly aren't all in it together, and it is clear from the comments about that fairness is playing no part in this at all. Pick on those least able to fight back. That used to be called bullying.

  81. Comment by Larklander posted on

    Dear Cabinet Office drone who moderates this stuff

    I note that trhe comment I made yesterday hasn't made it through your filters, and you haven't even had the courtesy to send me an e-mail to explain why.

    Yours sincerely

    Retiring Next Friday

  82. Comment by Rob posted on

    Sir Bob,

    Thank you for your blog post. Can I please draw your attention to paragraph 2.13 and table 2.1 of the Budget documentation, which I have repeated at the end of my post? This states that there will be an increase in pension contributions from 1 April 2015 for the Civil Service pension scheme.

    This doesn’t seem to accord with your statement of there “being no further significant changes to Civil Service pay and pensions". The Civil Service website ( appears to make no mention of an increase in contributions from 2015. Can you please provide information on what the impact on individuals of this latest announcement will be? Finally, do you envisage future increases in contributions beyond 2015?

    Many Thanks


    2.13 Public service pensions – The government will introduce new employer contribution
    rates for the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme, the NHS Pension Scheme (E&W), the Police
    Pension Scheme (E&W) applying from 1 April 2015 and for the Teachers Pension Scheme (E&W)
    applying from 1 September 2015. (1)”

    Table 2.1: Budget 2014 policy decisions1,2
    £ million
    2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
    1 Public Service Pensions: revaluation Spend 0 +725 +985 +1,015 +1,045

    • Replies to Rob>

      Comment by Richard posted on

      Well spotted, Bob. That'll be an interesting one to try and explain.

  83. Comment by Paul posted on

    I wont be bothering to visit this pointless, box ticking, lip service paying, excuse for staff "engagement" blog ever again.

    It's crystal clear that "engagement" only works one way in the modern civil service.


  84. Comment by Murray posted on

    "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service." This was done in my Department before I joined the Civil Service in late 2009, at great annoyance to me as I had reached the top of my (roughly equivalent) pay band in my previous job, and I echo KTL's comments above. Can someone tell me why the Civil Service does not place any value on experience, please?

  85. Comment by Austerity and HR posted on


    During the budget week it has been (quietly) announced that the pay minima for SCS bands has increased significantly, with no mention of it being linked to individual performance to get the increase. So, anyone on below the new bottom rate has in effect had a further pay rise/progression pay - if they are on the bottom of the scale, that will be about a 7% rise.
    Senior civil service salary minima will be increased from 1 April 2014 to £62,000 for Pay Band 1, £85,000 for Pay Band 2 and £104,000 for Pay Band 3.

    The current pay bands are
    Band 1 – £58,200 – maximum £117,800
    Band 2 – £82,900 – maximum £162,500
    Band 3 – £101,500 – maximum £208,100

    Austerity for all?

    Also, with regard to advising staff to talk to HR, is it not the case that DWP, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency have contracted out their HR functions to a firm (Steria) who have now announced that 500 previous civil servants are going to be fired and the HR work done abroad?

  86. Comment by Joni posted on

    It's not very useful to remove time served pay progression without suggesting any alternative pay progression arrangements. It's embeddidng pay inequalitites as mentioned numerous time throughout this thread. The issue is serious given that the difference between bottom and top of scale is most often around 20%.

  87. Comment by Paul posted on

    If I find myself in the bottom 10% in spite of my best efforts and have to follow a patronising and humiliating "improvement plan" at least I will be able to console myself with a below inflation, unconsolidated pay "rise" and higher pension contributions paid for longer with less reward at the end to look forward to. Obviously I feel suitably "engaged" and eager to strive for "continuous improvement".

  88. Comment by Angie posted on

    I would also like clarification on the point of time served pay progression. Are you referring to the type of pay progression that is awareded to - for arguments sake - the Military who receive a pay increment based on purely the number of years served OR are you refering to the spine point increments that us civil servants received based on satisfactory performance (i.e. meeting our objectives) - with no increment for under-performers. If it is the former, then I am less likely to have an issue with but if the intention is to remove any kind of progression for individuals who have worked hard and have 'earned' their spine point then I think that is wholly unjust. To expect your employees to continue to work effectively without a chance of progressing is deluded. If our only chance of progression is therefore through promotion (which discriminates against individuals in smaller geographic locations) then the very least that could be done is to reinstate to movers package to allow for some freedom of opportunity.
    Additionally, and a somewhat rhetorical question, we are informed by our government and other advisory bodies, that we are on target for the UK economy to be back on course by the summer (as healthy as the pre 2008 economy) - this begs the question, at what point does recovery to the economy equal recovery to our pay packets.

  89. Comment by Kevin posted on

    Of Course the MoD has delivered savings - in Our Pay being cut in real and actual terms due to no pay rise and Pension payment increases. How our Leader can be "Proud" in ensuring the living standards of the people he heads has fallen. Where is the Reward for all the hard work?

  90. Comment by GAW posted on

    Why do we bother!!!!

  91. Comment by kel posted on

    I have read all the comments above and the comments in the so called 'addressing your concerns' blog, and am of the opinion - what is the point? Sir Bob and the 'top brass' simply aren't interested and do not give a toss about the PMR system and what it mean for us and to blatantly say that the budget has no impact for us is utter nonsense. Really Sir Bob - give up this blog as it isn't worth the lack of effort you are putting in....

  92. Comment by Paul posted on

    No progression pay.? Other than for the SCS of course! Their salary minima will be increased from 1 April 2014 to £62,000 for Pay Band 1, £85,000 for Pay Band 2 and £104,000 for Pay Band 3. The current pay bands are
    Band 1 – £58,200 – maximum £117,800
    Band 2 – £82,900 – maximum £162,500
    Band 3 – £101,500 – maximum £208,100

    Says it all.

  93. Comment by Black Dog posted on

    Having remained on the same pay progression point for the last three years, I am formally requesting that Sir Bob tell me how I will reach the upper range of my pay scale if pay progression has been abolished.

    • Replies to Black Dog>

      Comment by Neil. S. posted on

      These are cleverly crafted works of fiction, for publication on recruitmnt advertisements, we then inform candidates they must start on the bottom of the scale. Is that why we cant fill vacant post's, surely not!

  94. Comment by Richard posted on

    "The key message from me is that there are no new savings sought from departments and no further significant changes to Civil Service pay and pensions."

    Does that mean that we are expecting to see further significant change to pay and pensions? Apart from the trial in DEFRA and IPO of course which looks very worrying.......

  95. Comment by Josie posted on

    I note several comments already about the removal of pay progression, but I may as well add my tuppence worth. Maybe if we all bang on about it long enough and loud enough, someone will hear us and understand our frustrations. I have been on the pay band minimum since I was last promoted 8 years ago. What is the point in having pay scales if there is no way to move up them? I have always had excellent staff reports, although not always a performance award, but I steadfastly remain on the bottom rung. Where is the incentive to go that extra mile, or put extra effort in? I'll still stay where I am on the pay scale, regardless of how well or how averagely I do my job. People promoted today with little or no mangerial experience will be on the same salary as me, even though I have a proven track record of managing staff, budgets, heavy workloads and all the other joyful things that come with my grade. When can I expect to move on from the doldrums I am currently in??

  96. Comment by Warren posted on

    It is unfortunate that civil service pay continues to lag behind inflation. However, there are a large number of new civil servants - those who were taken from the NHS into Public Health England who are doing even worse. We are staff who were transitioned/TUPEd in on NHS Agenda for Cahnage terms and conditions and who are at the top of our pay grades. Because we are civil serents, we do not get the 1% pay award enjoyed by the NHS, but because were are on NHS terms and conditins we do not get the 1% enjoyed by the CS. This applies to us for ever. Our pay will NEVER go up. I will retire in 10 years time still being paid the wages that I am paid today. I have younger colleagues who have 30 years ahead of them and so will continue to receive the same pay in 30 years time as they do today. Imagine what that will do to their pensions. What will 50% of not bery much be worth when they retire in 30 years time ? Yes there is the faint posibility of promotion, but that is hard to come by. So on the whole, Publich Health England is relying on many hundreds of vital and hightly skilled staff to safeguard the health of this country and has told them that they will NEVER get paid any more. It doesn't matter how well we do in our performace reviews - they don't count for staff like us.

  97. Comment by John C posted on

    Sir Bob,
    OK, you say "Rest assured I do read the comments on the blog and I have a great team around me, led by Chris Last, who I know have been responding to your questions and issues where they can."
    If they are a "great team" why are they not able to respond to all the messages?
    Many of the qutsions asked are very much "vaiations on a theme" so a reply to one of them (provided that it actually answered the question) would be a reply to many inquiries.
    As far as I can tell, no question has truly been answered by anyone.
    There has been, for example, no explanantion of why a discredited system has been introduced. You have not cited the sources of "positive feedback" that you claim to have heard, and so on. There has been no respone to the quotes people have given from their guidance on the applicatin of the forced distributions (and the guidance people have cited makes it clear that these are forced).

    Perhaps your next blog should be "Performance management part II" and give simple clear answers to the questions raised.
    No doubt the "great team " could help you categorise the questions that have been submitted, so you only need to reply to the bunches, rather than individual posts.

    • Replies to John C>

      Comment by Neil posted on

      Exactly - he cant produce the "positive feedback" because there isnt any.

  98. Comment by Tom posted on

    When I joined the service in 1979, it was very clearly recognised across the board (and the Board) that the pay rate for the job was the maximum of the scale; lower pay rates were there as a temporary range through which one quickly progressed (and most did) on the evidence of doing the job satisfactorily. It is a disgrace that this no longer applies. Similarly, the new PMR system is yet another step away from equity and trust, with a system entirely driven by forced numbers to be achieved, no matter what the truth is. More examples of the outrageous opinion that senior civil service managers have of the majority of civil servants - that we are self-serving and have no interest in working hard and effectively, cannot be trusted, and are not clever enough to see the reality behind what is being imposed.

  99. Comment by Craig posted on

    Still nothing from you Bob?

  100. Comment by Gershon Mendelhoff posted on

    Sir Bob - it is encouraging to learn that senior managers will now also be restricted to a 1% wage increase each year (though I wonder if this will include a 1% restriction on bonuses). Witnessing our leadership impose pay restrictions on junior graded colleagues when they have not imposed the same conditions on themselves has been a disheartening experience, and probably tells you all you need to know about whether we really are 'all in it together'. Such leadership only ensures that some of us will be in it much deeper and much longer than others.......

    • Replies to Gershon Mendelhoff>

      Comment by Austerity posted on

      But see the previous comments above re substantial increase in SCS pay minima just announced. It is not the same for all - some SCS will see an increase of £thousands in one go. it shows who is valued and who is not.

  101. Comment by gmc posted on

    Working for ONS as an interviewer, I am currently paid less than a picker/packer in a supermarket warehouse ....nice to be appreciated working in all weathers interviewing the public , who are mostly paid more than me !!!

    • Replies to gmc>

      Comment by G L Um posted on

      G M

      Unfortunately you are correct.

      I joined the civil service a decade ago, having previously spent a working life in the private sector and running my own business.

      I have always followed the pay and conditions I left behind, and have noted for years I would have been better off staying where I was.

      For junior ranks, (expected to be more educated and skilled than private sector peers) pay has never been comparable, but always lower. (Interestingly born out by the O.N.S.: ).

      For most of us living and working in the South of England, it’s a complete fiction to say working for the Public Sector is a good deal, or has been for a long time.

      This is clearly demonstrated by the inequity of Sir Bob’s ‘Pay Pilot’. - He clearly recognises the problem at senior levels, but unsurprisingly, deftly chooses to ignore it at junior and middle levels where the impact is greatest, reflected by his prejudice against progression pay and wish to abolish it.

      Given his cavalier introduction of the 10% ‘needs improvement’ policy; hikes to contributions and cuts in pensions (getting your pension later is a cut!); the below inflation pay increases, and freezes (in place for some over the last half decade!), should any of us be surprised when Sir Bob’s blogs read as so out of touch and divorced from reality? I’d suggest not!

  102. Comment by James posted on

    hello sir Bob,

    Can you please tell me why four of my comments are still marked as "awaiting moderation", days after I posted them? I have read the moderation policy and I honestly don't know how any of my comments could possibly have caused offence or contravened these rules in any possible way - unless you are now operating a politburo approach and quashing all dissent?

    Please get back to me on this, as I am starting to have serious doubts about whether freedom of speech still exists in the CS.

  103. Comment by katie Ginge posted on


    Why would anyone be proud to be head of a civil service? This government has created inequality amongst civil servant employees by paying different wages for doing the same work. Most of us are being paid less than the average wage and less than the average wage regionally £22k). I for one, have to sell my home because my wages have plummeted and the cost of living has risen so high that I can no longer afford to live in my home. Keep it real please!

  104. Comment by Retiring Next Friday posted on

    "I would like to take this opportunity to say how proud I am to lead the Civil Service during this period of major change."

    Judging by the tsunamis of criticism your blog posts provoke -- all legitimate questions, all of them evaded or ignored -- it would appear that you are presiding over the biggest and fastest collapse of staff morale in the history of the Civil Service. And you are proud of it!

  105. Comment by Kevin posted on

    Sir Bob says 'We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service'.

    Why does Sir Bob perpetuate the myth that pay progression is 'timed served?' Politicians believe that but for the Head of the civil servie to say that beggers belief!

  106. Comment by Gary posted on

    Clearly from this blog I'm not alone in being discriminated against in pay terms simply because of the unfortunate timing of entering my current grade. 6 years in and I'm no nearer ever reaching the full advertised rate for the job - compounded by the pay restraint of recent years and now we hear more years to come. And I do feel the only way to describe this is discrimination. How else can it be explained objectively that regardless of effort or capability some colleagues doing the same job are receiving 2.5K more simply because of timing.

    10 billion effeciency savings in the CS and still no recognition for the staff delivering those savings in these challenging times. CS pay is clearly nothing to do with fairness/recognition.

    In fact, I suspect that what really lies behind "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service" (and other variations including pay pay ranges) is a race to the bottom, where all those on their max have departed, leaving a workforce on minimum or as we might then see it, the 'new' maximum, there ending any arguements!

    A final observation on the PMR debate; Sir Bob, your response that any oustanding concerns should be raised with departmental HR leads me to think that you have totally missed/ignored the overiding point of the blog comments. My interpretation of the comments is that whether we like the PMR process or not, whatever the intention our leaders had, or the official guidance might say - guided not forced distribution - the reality on the ground is that many people are witnessing exactly the opposite. Regardless of the guidance, I know as a manager that I have to meet the gudied distribution for those in my validation group. HR may well spout the guidance when questioned, but what are they doing to address departments which are clearly not adhering to it. Will they be able to support me in challenging my senior managers where I can't meet the guided distribution. Given the numerous examples cited already, would they even try, I doubt it.

  107. Comment by Tony posted on

    you say you have a great team around you - which one will be marked "must improve" in their PMR?

  108. Comment by Paul posted on

    The one thing this blog proves beyond all doubt is just how far removed from reality people like Sir Bob are.

    Guided distribution?

    Contact your HR?

    It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

  109. Comment by Steve posted on

    I must ask one simple question buzzing around my office. The tax threshold has now been increased . Will Civil Servants see an increase in their pay packets or will this be swallowed up by another increase in pension deductions ?

    • Replies to Steve>

      Comment by Mary posted on

      Steve, I think there's another hike in the pension contributions this year, which of course will wipe out any increase in the tax threshold that we might have benefited from. I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that there aren't any further increases in what we're paying towards our pensions after 2014 (I hope that's right, otherwise I'll have no choice but to bail out of the scheme, I can barely afford it as it is). I'm sure there'll be an official announcement soon on the next hike in what we have to pay.

  110. Comment by Another civil servant posted on

    This article at best is humorous. If this was written as a factual piece I would be very worried as certainly indicates the person tasked with leading the civil service out of its darket hour, has not one bit of knowledge of what the reality facing the hard working civil servants found outside the top bandings and SCS grades.

    The fact that senior civil servants can earn more than the man asked to run the country says volumes. You continue to reward those who have done little to help the civil service and penalise those already struggling on a below inflation wage with no prospect of progression.

    I have long ago lost faith in the persons running the country and especially the civil service. I will not however lose my faith in myself and my colleagues delivering the standards users of the service deserve and remind myself every day, civil service has alot of good people that make it what it is. It is just a shame those people are nowhere near the top to make a real difference.

  111. Comment by Ches posted on

    Regardless off whether you still have access to an HR team or not, why is Sir Bob telling us to contact HR with any issues as they only implement and provide guidance for the processes we are forced into? HR aren't unable to remove or amend the PMR process, that decision surely lies at the feet of Sir Bob and the government!
    From experience anybody in HR is very keen to point out the proper processes for PMR, it is heads of divisions and directorates who refuse to follow the processes. Every team, whether it has 10 or 70 people are applying the curve striclty despite HR's instructions.
    I have given up after 30 years of dedication, progression, satisfaction in helping my customers and leaving to continue to do this where it is recognised instead.

  112. Comment by Richard posted on

    A question to finish the day.

    When, as we're being continuously told, the economy has picked up and others are getting pay rises in line with inflation or more, how is that going to be sold to all of us in the Public Sector who will be getting MAXIMUM 1%?

  113. Comment by Achieving commercial outcomes... posted on

    Removing time served pay progression or contractual pay progression? CS seem to have been bundled together, even though they mean different things to different departments. We have a contractual pay progression increase; however it IS NOT a guaranteed pay increase. You have to develop new or increase you expertise to progress, becoming a more professional workforce. This was inline with how the government wanted to the CS to work; however, I now hear this has changed to.
    We're self funding and make millions for the government, yet we are unable to reward staff in line with market rates for their contribution to a successful business!
    We can't recruit people with specialist skills to develop the business further as we can't afford them. If we take juniors and develop them with contractors or we recruit and they leave as they can earn so much more. This hinders our business and returns to government could drop as a result!

  114. Comment by Des Pair posted on

    "we will all need to continue to look to deliver savings in the work we do. I know this can be done – last year civil servants delivered £10 billion of efficiency savings"

    This is like the self-deluding internal monologue of an anorexia sufferer telling themself that they can lose more weight, despite the fact that they can barely stand up, their breath smells permanently of ketones and their vertebrae can be counted through their skin. There's no fat left to shed. There aren't enough staff left in many areas to cover sickness, holiday or training absences; the ones left are so overworked and stressed they get sick more often, only to be told that being ill is against the rules and they'll get a warning, so they should come in and make sure they infect their colleagues with whatever virus has taken advantage of their debilitated state.

    In fact, can we ban the term 'efficiency savings' full stop? If the farmer's wagon is pulled by four horses and he sells two of them to be made into glue, he may crow about how much he's saving on hay and oats, but the other two horses collapse at the end of each trip to market and he ends up using the whip on them more, while loading the wagon ever heavier and wondering why it's moving slower. How is this efficient? Like LEAN, it's a metaphor from engineering, and it simply doesn't transfer to processes with human components and outcomes.

  115. Comment by Deborah posted on

    HELP !!!!! - I've been at HMRC for 81/2 years. I got as far as the middle of my grade before I slipped back to the beginning due to lack of pay increases but narrowed pay bands.

    My rent alone has gone up every year - £3.25 this year £3.00 last year and £4.50 the year before. I've made cut backs and I DO NOT HAVE a landline anymore. I DO NOT HAVE sky or virgin etc. (freeview only) I DO NOT HAVE internet access at home. I DO NOT HAVE holidays away from my home and I rarley go out socially. The cost of living is becoming unmanageable and I have a private pension that it now seems your going to try to screw me out of in my old age. I face falling below the minimum pay for an AO if I get a 'needs improvement' on my PMR (does that mean I then get an exceed because I'll be paid AA grade???.

    SO. What do you suggest I cut back on in order to live. PS. I packed in smoking 4 years ago (that went first).

  116. Comment by LG posted on

    Having been a Civil Servant for nearly 30 years, I look back on the days of Progression Pay with great fondness. As an EO, I have stayed on the same scale point that I entered the grade - not the lowest, because AO max exceeded EO min at promotion - but I cannot seem to rise any higher. I know that I am not alone, as this blog proves.

    How, then, is it possible to remove something which has been, in effect, already removed?

    I have my contract and it's still recorded there. It's still offered to any prospective new employees (are there any, given the cuts?). It's still in guidance.

    I shall try to believe 5 more impossible things before breakfast...

  117. Comment by Louise posted on

    Some thoughts; not confined to the budget:

    I have been a Civil Servant for 25 years and in that time I have seen many changes in departments, pay and staff reporting. I feel that we are now at an all time low.

    As Civil Servants we lose out twice; once in our pay cuts/freezes/pension increases and once in our daily lives with inflation and recession.

    The new reporting system will benefit those who can play the system/talk themselves up - and who can find time to keep track across the year of evidence and then draft the extensive documentation. Feedback from and to colleagues is another burden with limited worth. Guided distribution may work for this first year - I would be naïve not to accept that some of us do need to improve. However, what happens next year when the 'must improvers' do improve and then everyone will be jostling to stay out of the bottom percentage. Competition is healthy but does not foster an atmosphere of team working.

    My Department has recently been refurbished; spending a huge amount of money to apparently save money on renting excess floor space. Following a recent recruitment drive (after having lost 19 staff a couple of years ago in the VER scheme) we now do not have enough space to accommodate the 20+ new intake.

    The computer systems and support are inadequate and do not fulfil our needs. This severely impacts on our ability to do our work. This has been the case for a couple of years now with promises of change when the next support contract/windows edition/thin client system is brought in.

    Post filling decisions are taken which have blown promotion chances for those of us who have been in post for many years in a bottom heavy department. Interviews are competence-based so again those who play the system are the ones who succeed. These aren't always the best people for the job. Years of valuable experience is being ignored in favour of being able to tick box the correct answers in the interview.

    We are encouraged to give our opinions in surveys, or here as blog threads or to our DMT floor meetings. This gives us the false impression that we are being listened to and that our concerns will be addressed. We are shouting louder than ever before yet being plied with platitudes or just plain ignored.

    You may ask why I don't find a job elsewhere. At present, the sole benefit to me of remaining a Civil Servant is that I can work part-time and flexibly when necessary to care for my primary school-age children. When my family circumstances allow me to return to full-time work I will be leaving with a backward glance only to those colleagues who, despite all these challenges, make coming to work a pleasure.

  118. Comment by Matt posted on

    HR Dept I am afraid you seem to be out of touch with reality, 20 Mins wait for somebody to tell you they will get the back office to respond which will be up to 7 days!
    I used to work in HR and felt valued now it's hit and miss, more miss i'm afraid.
    As for the the new reporting system it's a farce!

  119. Comment by Jean Newton posted on

    Through out my Civil Service career I was advised that although I was paying into what was originally called Widows and Orphans Fund I should rest assured that this would be refunded with interest when I retired. Not true. Although I paid in total almost £9000 I only received £3300 and the rest is payable at £240 a year so will obviously never receive this money. The reason being was because I could only receive a perentage of my salary as a lump sum because of tax implications. If I was a higher grade and receiving more salary I would have received it. This is very unfair, I would have been prepared to pay tax on the remaining lump sum. Will the Budget cover Civil Servants and will I now be able to receive this lump sum. Perhaps you could look into this

  120. Comment by Baz posted on

    I've read the various comments across this blog with great interest. I think with the size of the civil service it would be impossible to know the finer details of what really goes on and where but I would suggest there is one fundamental issue that pervades the whole of the service and that is the lack of integrity.

    Favourtism is rife, creditable and honest staff management is absent and in a hierarchical system there is an endemic tendency to seek to critique and undermine individuals who may raise queries/issues or perceived to be a voice of dissent. Leaders need to listen, and great leaders need to actively listen.

    If the service is to develop to be truly professional then groupthink will need to be rejected as the only route to delivering outcomes, this stiffles innovation and creativity. Dirty washing will need to be aired and addressed which means some G7's and above will also need to be marked as needing to improve. The issue with the marking scheme is that it becomes a tool to demonstrate and endorse management decisions about promotions or recruitment - God forbid that a manager made a mistake in their decision!

    Finally I took this view ...Accept the things that you cannot change and change the things you cannot accept.

    I could not accept the things I could not change and there were too many things that needed to change over which I had no ability to influence positive change.

    I worked in several roles and departments, I cared about my job, worked incredibly hard, carried double the workload of my peers (acknowledged by senior managers) and delivered significant savings for my last department even before austerity measures were implemented. I requested support for postgraduate training, I was refused even though me peers were given support for the same training, so I took out a loan and paid for it myself. I requested reasonable opportunities to work in other areas to pursue development needs, I was refused. And the list goes on.

    I decided to hand my notice in and left without a job to go to. Very shortly after leaving I have secured another job with no cut in salary and I am looking forward to feeling valued as a member of staff and to working for the benefit of the business.

    I doubt I will return to the civil service unless there is wide and fundamental change.

    • Replies to Baz>

      Comment by KCC posted on

      I couldnt have put it better!! Favouratism before talent - well done on getting out. Im only hanging in for redundancy. If/when I leave I hope never to return to the civil service for exactly the reasons you say.

  121. Comment by MSE posted on

    You have failed to address the concerns of the staff that have responded to your previous blog on PMR and by advising us to merely refer our concerns to our HR Departments shows how out of touch you are with reality in today's Civil Service.
    I note that you claim 'to be proud to be leading the Civil Service through this time of major change' .....really??
    I would feel proud if the staff respected me for my honesty, integrity and credibility. All areas that are severely lacking in the modern Civil Service leadership.
    When will you please start to listen to the staff? People that are hard working and dedicated and feeling like social pariahs as we are made to feel responsible for the recession as we are painted as being greedy and lazy. We have had to endure pay freezes, changes to pay and conditions, increased pension payments and now the indignity of the PMR system foisted upon us.
    Please remember - You can fool some people sometime, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

  122. Comment by Brockville posted on

    I like the way this blog keeps mentioning a pay increase of 1%. I'm getting 0.75% for 2013/2014 which incidentally should have come into force on 1 August 2013 and instead will reach my pay packet at the end of April 2014. Yes it's backdated but where's the interest that would have accrued on that money if I'd had it on time and invested it, even for the pittance that's on offer for savers? Like others I'm stuck doing a job to the very best of my ability, getting no where on pay progression and then having to literally fight my way to try and get recognized in the top 15% of the 'forced' distribution curve! And yes, no matter how the distribution curve is badged by anyone, it is forced and certainly not guided as Sir Bob is trying to tell us.

  123. Comment by DaveC posted on

    "continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service"? In the MoD, this was removed in 2010. Are you saying other departments have continued to recieve a rise in pay while we have seen take-home-pay fall, and inflation over the period running at 14%?

    • Replies to DaveC>

      Comment by Andy posted on

      In what was HMC&E we lost it back in 1996!

  124. Comment by Marian posted on

    "Civil servants aren’t affected by the announcement today which abolishes the effective requirement to buy an annuity to access your pension."

    Bob, Please do not exclude all of us who are Civil Servants but who also have Private Pension pots from previous employments. When I joined the Civil Service about 15 years ago I did try to transfer in these multiple small pension pots into the Civil Service pension scheme, but the people who managed the scheme were being 're-organised' at that time and so I was unable to meet the deadline for completing the transfer within one year!! Not much has changed in terms of efficiency in the HR-type services we receive!

    Also as I can only complete about 20 years of service before retirement, I have contributed to the Additional Voluntary Contribution pension schemes - these I believe would be 'annuity' pensions and hence i could benefit from the Budget changes. However, I have had to stop any contributions to such schemes due to the continuing pay cuts. I count myself thankful that I had the luxury of absorbing the pay cuts from this 'discretionary' spend. Mortgage payments are much harder to cut back on and I really do not know how some people are coping with the continuing pay freezes and pension contribution rate increases.

  125. Comment by Lo posted on

    Good morning Sir Keslake,

    I have almost been a civil servant for 12 years. When I first started out everything was grand and I was content with every aspect of my job. However, over the years times have changed the way business as been conducted in the government. I understand that the country has gone through hardships and everyone must pull together to rectify other peoples mistakes.

    However, most of us work increased hours for no pay or very little overtime. For example, during a 2.5 month period I worked an extra 294 hours and I only received 20 hours overtime each month. There is only so much good will you can rely on from people before they leave. Am lucky that I still love my job and that’s the only aspect that keeps me going. Sooner or later, I will want a mortgage and be able to retain that.

    I feel that our pay does not reflect the hard work and the increased hours. I feel that our pay should be increased to match inflation but not to be taken straight away. For example, in august 2013 we received a pay increase by 1% and then it was taken straight away by increasing our pensions.

    I think an exercise should be conducted to reflect the true nature of working hours of every civil servant. For example, every civil servant should submit a flexi sheet to their boss and it should go up to the top of the chain. Each department should work out how many free hours are given to the government. This exercise should be conducted over a period of six months. Am hoping this will identify how much free time the government is getting and that civil servants deserved better working conditions.

    If you want an effective workforce:

    - increase pay
    - re-introduce annual bonuses
    - stop paying contractors to do the work
    - re-invest in the workforce to do the jobs that need to be filled
    - get rid of the new PADR system (this has taken up so much time and has impacted on morale)

    I hope I have highlighted most of the key points for civil servants and I shall look forward to hearing your response in this matter.

    • Replies to Lo>

      Comment by Gareth posted on

      Lo, I feel your pain. One of my staff took 6 months maternity leave; our then 1* said we didn't have the money to pay for external cover (I work in a specialist area where it takes several years to train up staff). So I basically covered her work for that period, and was generally content to do so since I enjoy the work. But the 6 months took its toll.

      What thanks did I get? Plenty from my line manager, who's a decent sort. None from the then 1*. Would I do it again? Yes, but only if line management understood and accepted that I am NOT doing unpaid overtime again (indeed, I am not doing overtime paid or unpaid again) so they will have to a clear understanding of their priorities, from both posts, and - most importantly - what work will CEASE being done BEFORE I cover absences in future. I'm afraid that, from my angle, senior management blew all their good will in that one episode. Never again will I put myself or my family through 6 months like that.

      Forget "more with less"; what management will now get is "less with less". If they don't like it - tough. They'll just have to prioritise: that's their job after all (though your wouldn't know it from the behaviour of some).

      • Replies to Gareth>

        Comment by Graeme R (MoD) posted on

        At least you received some thanks - I reduced my offering to 1 hour per week and still received a disciplinary record. So I join the ranks of those who do not conduct any form of official business when not being paid to do so.

  126. Comment by JR posted on

    Sir Bob

    We are all being asked to do more with less.
    We have seen that SCS - at least at the bottom of the grades - are not having to do this - 7% pay rise minimum.

    With all the job losses through the CS can you please let everone know how many people have left during VERS etc. at each grade and what percentage that equates to at each grade.
    The head of HR should have these figures. - Please also include SCS.

    Another idea.
    SCS are paid an amount for the amount of work, number of people managed etc. If areas of this work are reducing should the pay not reduce also?

    I hope you can answer the questions but will not hold my breath.

  127. Comment by david posted on

    I dont see the point of allowing staff to comment and then not getting responses, it is just depressing.

    • Replies to david>

      Comment by katie and ginge posted on

      At least your reply got published! There are plenty that didnt!

      • Replies to katie and ginge>

        Comment by John posted on

        Totally Correct!

      • Replies to katie and ginge>

        Comment by Tom posted on

        Yes, I tried to comment twice on Performance Management blog regarding my concerns with the new Performance Appraisal about my reservations regarding the new system, neither were published!

        • Replies to Tom>

          Comment by Jimbo posted on

          Yes, I've had a number of posts that have simply not been published. All very polite, respectful and all on topic. I can't think for the life of me why they failed the moderation policy - or should I say the "Pravda" policy.

        • Replies to Tom>

          Comment by Tom posted on

          Following this post both have been added now to the other blog too, thank you to the hard working moderators.

  128. Comment by Crying Brian posted on


    A simple answer to your question is it will depend on how much you earn. If you earn £15,000 per annum or less then your pension contributions will not increase from April 2014 so you will be effectively £112 per annum "better off" from the increase to Personal Allowances (new PA £10,000 - previous PA £9,440 = £560 X 20% = £112). This obviously equates to the magnificent sum of £9.33 per month. The rise in pension contributions for those earning between £15,001 and £21,000 is 0.3% so after basic rate tax relief this effectively means a net increase of 0.24%. All of those earning in that range will be "better off" with a net effect of £76 (salary £15,001) and £62 (salary £21,000) so everyone earning between those amounts will also be "better off" by some amount between £62 and £76. This equates to a gold-plated monthly amount of between £5.16 and £6.33. The increase in pension contributions for anyone earning £21,001 or more is 0.6% or 0.48% after basic rate tax relief or 0.36% if a higher rate taxpayer. Therefore those earning in excess of £41,865 will probably be higher rate for 2014/2015 but will receive less benefit from the increased personal allowances than basic rate taxpayers. The cut-off point for benefit from the increased personal allowances is £23,333 so anyone earning £23,334 or more will effectively be "worse off" as the increased pension contributions will be higher than any tax saving from a higher personal allowance. Those earning between £21,001 (£11.20 per annum) and £23,333 (£0.01 per annum but only provided the pension contributions are rounded down) will be "better off" by between 93p per month and 1p per annum. As Sir Bob and many other SCS will undoubtedly earn more than £120,000 per annum then they won't actually receive any personal allowances so with the increase to their pension contributions then they will be 0.36% "worse off" for 2014/2015 unless of course they were on the minima of the pay scale and if so then they will receive the not insignifcant monthly increases of between £175 and £316 less a maximum increased pension contribution of £18.60 per month (salary £62,00 per annum), £25.50 (salary £85,000) or £31.20 (salary £104,000). Perhaps part of this is a reward for guiding the rest of us on the PMR distribution process rather than forcing quotas on us. Incidentally if any of my figures are incorrect then I'll be happy to stand corrected and I will leave everyone to make up their own mind if we really are all in this together.

    As an aside to the points regarding pay progression, I was trained, undertaking intensive studying and sitting many exams in order to achieve a Grade 7 post in HMRC. I did so on the understanding that I would progress to the pay maxima within 7 years of my promotion. I will shortly "celebrate" the sixth anniversary of my promotion and my current salary is £1,276 above the minima and £6,482 below the maxima. It seems rather perverse that HMRC can spend so much money, time and effort training tax professionals only to fail to recognise their efforts via pay progression but the Civil Service as a whole is quiet happy to raise the pay minima for SCS. I suppose I should just try to become a SCS or stop moaning.

    • Replies to Crying Brian>

      Comment by Cadillac posted on

      I mean i just made slip up with the 1 pence.)

    • Replies to Crying Brian>

      Comment by Tom posted on

      To Crying Brian

      Well at least you are on the right side of HMRC to get a reward for doing all your hard work and exams, you made it to Grade 7, if you were on the indirect tax side of HMRC then you get nothing. I worked hard and did all the exams that the old C&E required, but got no promotion or pay rise for it. I now find that if I am lucky to get a promotion, then I will have to do the new exams that HMRC have intrduced to be confirmed in the grade, but I understand that direct tax staff won't have to do the new exams.

      As for pay progression, I spent 8 years on just a couple of hundred pounds above the minimum when the unions agreed a deal with HMRC, this allowed staff at my grade to progress from the bottom to the top of the pay scale in 8 years, so luckily I went straight to the top of the pay scale. However they did away with my pay band, so staff in the band below with the necessary service went to the same level, even though I was doing harder work. The deal for staff to progress through the pay scale now seems to have been ditched, so colleagues doing the same work as me get paid less, which is totally demoralising for them.

      I used to think that the Civil Service stood for fairness and equality, I don't anymore!

  129. Comment by James posted on

    "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service". A single throwaway line, but it masks the deep disdain that Sir Bob evidently holds for most of his workforce. Like many other contributors to this blogsite I worked hard, got a promotion, but saw only one progression pay rise, and years down the line am on significantly less pay than many of my colleagues doing the same job. What on earth was the point of making all that effort, going through all that stress? I and many others have been kicked in the teeth and effectively told that there's no point making the effort.

  130. Comment by Cynical posted on

    Unfortunately, Civil Servants are seen generally as a bit of a joke and to be sneered at as we supposedly have these wonderful terms and conditions and gold plated pensions that the Daily Mail and The Sun tell their readers we don't deserve. Added to that, the perception by the private sector that we are useless and frankly we are kicked from all sides.

  131. Comment by Pond life of the MoD posted on

    If only we received a 1% pay rise... The only change I look forward to is the minimum spine point being removed so that I can move up to the new minimum pay of my grade...

  132. Comment by Disgruntled of... posted on

    The gap between those on the minmum of the pay band and those on the maximum will get ever greater. To illustrate using the MOD C2 scale, 1% of £29,551 is £295; 1% of £35,285 is £352. This may only be just over an additional £1 a week, but when this is repeated year on year, the gap will continue to increase. Without the possibility of progression, this will rankle with many staff. It seems clear that the intention is to make the lowest spine point the de facto sole salary for the grade, thus reducing the pay spend by a considerable amount.

    I do wonder how much of the supposed 'efficiency savings' are down to a better use of resources, and how much down to paying those resources a lower salary.

    • Replies to Disgruntled of...>

      Comment by Andy posted on

      This will also depend on how your Department applies the 1%. In HMRC, for those of us on the pay range max receive the 1% as a non-consolidated payment - i.e. not added permanently to salary & non-pensionable. It's not even paid in a single lump - we get it paid in monthly installments over the follwing 12months!

      • Replies to Andy>

        Comment by Cadillac posted on

        That makes sense as can be 0.5 percent more for life for some people. So could be x 30 etc. So large saving.

    • Replies to Disgruntled of...>

      Comment by MJS posted on

      I agree. In fact isn't that what MEC is doing, making the lowest spine point effectively the ONLY pay rate? I'm pretty sure that's exactly what it's doing for us in our small part of DfT

  133. Comment by HMCTS posted on

    Sir Bob
    I have serious concerns about the new PMR system. An inordinate amount of time is being taken to be trained on it and to produce the required evidence. I will have to spend many hours I can ill afford to waste justifying myself and the work that I am doing. I have to attend regular uneccessary meetings with my line manager. Neither of us can afford the time away from our front line roles. I see every member of staff in my workplace wasting hours and hours justifying their existence, I think everyone in my department has spent at least 3 days this year on the performance system. That is time which could be far better spent administering justice. We are short of staff, are over worked and just have not got the time or inclination for comply with a system that is fundamentally flawed. I have attended 2 master classes which are quite frankly "gobbildygook" - full of management speak with no substance, providing no clear infomation or guidance. All of my team felt we were none the wiser at the end of it. Although what was clear is we are going to have to spend time asking people for feedback and gathering evidence rather than getting on with our jobs.
    It is overely complicated, much too time consuming and causes unecessary stress. Scrap it and start again, get a system that is undestandable, easy to administer and does not require days to complete.
    You are getting some very honest feedback on this blog- please listen take it on board and make a change.

  134. Comment by Patrick posted on

    I'd write something profound but its not like it going to change anything is it ?

  135. Comment by Thomas posted on

    When I achieved my promotion to my current grade 8 years ago , it was on the understanding , I would through experience rise up the pay scale, this was a clear expectation. Eight years on I am around £2000 less than colleagues doing the same work with the same levels of accountability. This has also severely affected my pension entitlement but it seems very senior management in the Civil Service are unwilling to tackle this anomaly . If there is no progression they must agree a rate for the job fair to all otherwise stop advertising posts with a max no one can reach.

  136. Comment by Young staff posted on

    I have seen many exceptionally talented young people in my department leave because of the pay and appraisal system and they have had no problem getting much better jobs with more prospects. They are a considerable loss.

  137. Comment by Paul posted on

    I would like to throw this into the mix.....were you reading and replying to this in your own time? come on tell the truth!!
    I worked in the private sector for 12 years, public sector for the last 7 years. What a breath of fresh air it has been to experience what you have had for so long, yous dont even know yous have got a job most of yous. The government is right to be cutting back, public sector employees have been spoilt for far too long, now that yous have to knuckle down and do some graft for your money yous are whingeing

  138. Comment by getting completely hacked off posted on

    Sir Bob

    On the previous blog on PMR you say that questions were answered by you very good team.
    Well perhaps you should look as I have just done
    Over 500 posts, less than 20 replies form your team - none of which actually did anything to answer any questions or lessen my worries.

    And so we move to this blog - over 150 posts with 0 replies.

    If we are not to have meaningful 2 way communication using this format then what is the point.

    Why can these valid points and questions not be answered with direct replies?

    • Replies to getting completely hacked off>

      Comment by Jim posted on

      and why are many, many perfectly valid comments not even getting past the moderating committee?

      • Replies to Jim>

        Comment by jon posted on

        I am quite impressed with the moderator actually seems quite living discussion rather than the normal gernic yes men, and a few token "straw men ranters or clear mis informed" to help the yes mens lack of rigour imagination and general low interlect.

        The constructive types like me banned.

  139. Comment by Martin Witherngton posted on

    Dear Sir Bob,
    I find your reference to senior civil servants having the limit of an average of 1% somewhat confusing. This is a relatively small sector of civil service employees so what about the vast remanider. I work in the HMPO and if I receive 1% (in my junior role) it will only be the second cost of living rise in 10 years (the last was about 1% when David Cameron first became PM). It is dificult for me, with a salary of less than £20,000, to come to terms with the yearly bonus payments of over £15,000 made to senior civil servants when these payments alone exceed my income. When you add into this equation the fact that in the 10 years to date I have received a 1% cost of living rise whilst MPs have received about 25% . Add to this the increase in pension payments then the situation is worsened. Pension costs have been significantly reduced based purely on the 10 year cost of living freeze (perhaps by 30%) final salary relationship in any event. Partners/spouses pensions are 3/8ths of the retirement pension on death as apposed to the 50% that prevails elswhere.
    Perhaps you can find time to comment also on the removal of spine points that occurred in the HMPO some years ago that has left numbers of employees with salaries that have been fixed at thousands of ponds below their colleagues doing the same job and with a cost of living rise of only 1% in 10 years?

    • Replies to Martin Witherngton>

      Comment by Andy posted on


      I wouldn't hold your breath on getting any answers let alone ones to your speific points! I'm a bit of an old luddite when it comes to technology but my understanding of why social media is so popular, is because of the speed and spontaneity with which information is shared. That clearly doesn't apply to this blog. I think it's self-defating to embark upon using this modern form of communication if it's not used in the right way.

      Still, it's good fun reading all the comments!

  140. Comment by Off message posted on

    Workers in the region need to keep an eye on the new changes that are occurring. Regional roles are gradually being transferred to London. Guess its a case of SCS being very poor at distance management - put them in the bottom 10%.....

  141. Comment by Paul Farr posted on

    Sir Bob,

    Can you give a list of the departements that have "time served pay progression" as you refer to in this blog ?

    I'd be surprised if there are any. All of the perforrmance management systems that I am familiar with in the Civil Service have either a transparent performance based progression (as applied in the Home Office until last year) or entirely opaque progression arrangements, which the Home Office now use becuase it is fairer. I can't say that replacing a transparent system with an opaque system looks like a step forward in fairness to me but apparently the Home office does.

  142. Comment by Tom posted on

    One of my favourite programmes on TV is Undercover Boss, where a high ranking executive goes undercover to work with the staff on the frontline of their business, the ones who actually provide the goods/services that the executive is so proud of. Invariably the executive finds that their staff are busting a gut to make the business look great and that the executive's initiatives, which seemed so wonderful in the boardroom, actually cause grief to the staff, without providing much, if any, additional benefit to the customer.

    Any chance of Senior Civil Servants taking a chance and coming down to the "coalface" to see what conditions are really like, that is without being chaperoned by the management of an office ensuring you only see the good bits? You might find that you are even more proud of us than you are now!

  143. Comment by god posted on

    The moderator is lazy there is not one new post today

  144. Comment by an experienced civil servant posted on

    With the new performance management coming in soon, people will be graded and 10-15% of the workforce will be graded as "needing improvement". They will be judged, not on a benchmark of "what is good performance", but on a benchmark "you are not as good as most of your colleagues". So, if you are working in a team of superstars....watchout! If you are part time and work in a team of full out!. If you are 59 and working in a team of new young out! If you are disabled, and, despite your best and most courageous efforts are unable to quite meet the out! And in the future, when you have to work to 65, or even 68, and you are in a team of keen 20 to 30 year olds, how many of us will easily perform as well as our colleagues. And how many experienced civil servants will be quite as keen (as so many currently are) to help their less experienced colleagues if, in doing so, you put your own perfomance at risk?

  145. Comment by Bill posted on

    Looks like the comments are being blocked. that or everybodys queries have been resolved by Sir Bob. Just because you dont post them does not mean people willl dissappear and engagement will go up. This is not the way to resolve this.

    • Replies to Bill>

      Comment by Fed Bare posted on

      Bill — 26/03/2014

      My comments weren't accepted and the moderator did get in touch and tell me why. Doesn't matter if I agree with his reasons, at least he told me via e mail.
      Funny thing is that my amended comments, removing the offending line still haven't made it on here...

      IT issues I'm sure!

      • Replies to Fed Bare>

        Comment by Tom posted on

        Fed Bare

        I had a similar experience where I was contacted by the moderator about my comments, I changed these and then it just showed as "awaiting moderation" before it disappeared when the string closed.

  146. Comment by Q posted on

    " if you have outstanding concerns and questions then please speak to the HR team in your department". What a hoot. I'm not sure our e-mail system would penetrate enough sand to find the head of HR. If it did I'm sure they'd be supremely indifferent.

  147. Comment by a civil servant of many years service posted on

    A colleague of mine, who is recognised for their determination, exemplary attitude, high professionalism and excellent performance year on year has, for the first time I have known them in 6 years suggested, after the latest announcement on the new performance management system today, they are seriously considering whether they want to remain in the civil service. I too have seen my fair share of fine years in the civil service. Some might say then that the new performance management system will help me develop further; that the new system is well suited to excellent performers. But personally, I find the spectre of trying to outperform my colleagues in order to secure my position as very distasteful, and a major distraction. It's not what I came into the civil service to do. I simply don't need to be motivated in that way to perform at my best, whatever "my best" might be. I worry that the new system will encourage some of our best performers; some of our shiny lights who we look to for inspiration and leadership, to simply leave. Some of our most exemplary performers will just not want to be associated with a system where the strong overcome the less strong.

  148. Comment by Andy posted on

    One for the road!

    First time I’ve seen this blog. I am relieved that the problems seem to be across the CS. Sir Bob is clearly out of touch OR the middle management is doing the usual buffering! Re HR…Why oh why do we put so much effort into appraisals when they form no role in evaluating you for another post. You may have an exemplary service record, which in theory is proof of how good you are, but then somebody who is good at interviews gets the job when in fact they could be rubbish? I came from the Private Sector BUT SAME PROBLEM REMAINS….IF YOU ARE A MANAGER, THEN MANAGE AS YOU ARE EXPECTED TO! Sorry to the innocent!

  149. Comment by Fed Up posted on

    The vast majority, if not all, Civil Service departments have relied heavily on the good will of the workforce, to meet deadlines and punishing schedules, to have front line services delivered under sometimes very difficult and stressful conditions. The all New Civil Service vision appears to think that 'all stick and no carrot' is the way to make the workforce even more productive.

    No other major employer would ever take this line, it is a step back into the dark ages and all it has produced is ill-will and no desire to give a jot more than is actually required. It is a shame that those who think they have a clear 'vision' of a rosy, happy Civil Service and workforce, think that it can only be achieved by punishing those who would otherwise be naturally doing the very best that they can.

    • Replies to Fed Up>

      Comment by Matt posted on

      Certainly in my department I remember a time when the car park was full by 7:30 and people would regularly work 8-10 hour days as long as there was work to be done.

      These days we're having a good day if the car park is full by 9am and not half empty by 3, people are so fed up and good will so far gone that people just aren't interested anymore.

      • Replies to Matt>

        Comment by Tom posted on

        Lucky you, they took our car park off us a few years ago, which effectively meant a pay cut of £600 per year for paid car parking or additional time spent on public transport.

  150. Comment by MJS posted on

    I'm heartened too see 'senior civil servants' pay rise is limited to an average of 1%.

    I'd be pleased to get that however I haven't had a pay rise in years nor am I projected to get one this or next year, other than a paltry sum through MEC.

    • Replies to MJS>

      Comment by Austerity and LOCAL Pay posted on

      SCS may get a pay increase of only 1% but their pay band MINIMA is increasing for all SCS grades by about £4,000 +, ie about 7%.The Civil Service generally gets a poor press about 'Gold Plated Pensions' but the press (usually the rabidly anti public service Daily Mail) seems to totally miss the point that there are 2 sections of the Civil Service - the SCS and the rest of us.
      If the rest of the Civil Service saw pay band minima increases to the same percentage as the SCS, how many of the people posting on this blog would get a pay rise - I am guessing many.

      When it comes to allowing allocation of pay award/pay pots to be decided by the SCS for their own areas, read very carefully the following document, 'Civil Service Pay Guidance 2013-2014'.

      in particular para 1.8 which states
      ''The Cabinet Office also published analysis by the independent Hay Group which sets out median comparable private sector salaries in illustrative pay zones. However, this is for information only; there will be no centrally imposed move to local pay in the civil service. Decisions on pay reform are for individual departments''

      There are clear statements within the document that the delegation of pay negotiation away from central, national negotiations is to address LOCAL retention and recruitment issues (Hence the SCS has increased its pay minima) and the end result of this is that there will be different pay in different areas of the UK, decided by senior management. The majority of Civil Servants are still in London, so the rest of the UK workforce is not likely to see much, if any of future pay rises. It does beg the question why so many civil servants are still in London when they cost more and are going to cost even more under local pay negotiations.

      We are being eased into the idea of local pay by only 2 departments trying it out, but make no mistake, local pay is where this is all heading and if it is considered locally that retention and recruitment is a problem at higher grades, that is where the pay pot is likely to go in the future.

      Please read the document and see the full picture. There is a finite pot of money available for pay and I don't think the lower grades, particularly those outside of areas like London and the South East are likely to see any pay awards in future years.

  151. Comment by Stephen posted on

    Am I being naive in thinking that the Head of the Civil Service should occasionally stand up and bat for the rank and file Civil Service, rather than simply being a YES man to whatever ill thought horror issues forth from the Cabinet Office?
    Sir Humphrey Appleby - we need you more than ever

  152. Comment by Jo posted on

    Equal Pay – What does the Law say?
    The law is supposed to protect our right to equal pay. European Union law requires that women and men should receive equal pay for equal work. However, like a number of colleagues on this blog have already stated this is not happening and with the removal of the automatic pay progression HMRC are no longer using length of service to set pay and benefits, there is now indirect discrimination occurring.
    I am doing equal work to that of a number of male colleagues and yet I am not receiving equal pay. This is not always because male colleagues have been in post longer…..sometimes due to the fact they were in their previous grade for a long period and then when promoted took an increase that took them over the minimum pay band. It is not because they are more productive than me….in fact colleagues of the same grade with a must improve marking while I receive an exceed marking are still being paid significantly more. I appreciate that this also happens across the same gender but the fact remains women and men doing equal work are not receiving equal pay – so how does HMRC satisfy themselves that this meets the Equal Pay Act?
    Your employer may be allowed to give you different pay and benefits based on how long you have worked for them, even though this would otherwise be indirect discrimination because of age. For length of service up to five years, your employer does not have to justify differences at all. If your employer uses length of service of more than five years to award or increase a benefit, this falls outside the exception.
    Your employer may still be able to use length of service to set pay and benefits after workers have been with them for more than five years if they reasonably believe that using length of service in this way fulfils a business need. But the new PMR system clearly contradicts this – I have been in my grade for over 5 years so I should be paid the same as male colleagues who have been in the same grade for over 5 years otherwise this is indirect discrimination.
    Has HMRC done an Equal Pay audit to ensure that employees doing equal work are paid the same and ensure there is no unlawful pay discrimination? I suggest this is tested through the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    • Replies to Jo>

      Comment by KTL posted on

      I have read the same guidance on paybands and pay progression on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. As someone who is still on the band minima about 4.5 years in the job I'm waiting for this year's pay offer. If there is no progression or increase in band minima this would then imply I would still be on the band minima about 5.5 years in the grade. At that stage I will be taking legal advice about a possible employment tribunal on this issue. If there is no progression and the idea is to remove it completely then something else has to be put in it's place. The current staus quo is simply not acceptable.

    • Replies to Jo>

      Comment by Buster Friendly posted on

      European law also states that progression from pay minima to maxima should take no more than five years. Fat chance of that ever happening. Five years ago, I was part of a grievance action against the employer on this very point, having been stuck on the minima for seven years. Unfortunately the grievance did not succeed, due to the employer having fiddled the rate of progression so many times it was impossible to establish a baseline figure from which to progress. End result, I have been on exactly the same pay for twelve years, with the employer stealing more out of my pocket every year, and the ongoing recession taking a bigger bite out of what remains every week. I and many other civil servants have no faith that management will do anything other than look after themselves, leaving the rest of us to twist in the wind.

  153. Comment by Alan posted on

    Where you say, "We will continue to remove time served pay progression across the Civil Service", do you ever intend to address the fact that some staff (me, for instance) having been in the C2 grade for 6.5 years, are still on the same pay as someone being promoted to C2 today, whilst I have colleagues who are doing similar roles - and in one instance an identical post - but are being paid approximately £5,500 more PA.

    I don't like, but understand the department's approach, i.e. no incremental progression due to the current financial situation, but it is extremely demotivating to have to continue to endure this financial divide within the grades.

    This the first time in 27 years working for the MOD that I feel it is time to move on in the search of fairness.

  154. Comment by B C posted on

    Obviously the volume of correspondence this has generated is a reflection of how ridiculous this whole situation is. Of course this whole pay, performance and lack of progression is not only unfair and unjust, it leads people to leave and chase employment elsewhere because they simply cannot afford to stay? This by necessity results in further recruitment drives with new starters promised top end salary scales that they will never achieve. I seriously doubt that this is even legal as surely it is misrepresentation at the very least. It is nothing short of disgraceful that employees of this country's own government should be treated in this manner. Also I do not see the point of offering people the chance to ask questions or voice opinion when there is not even the courtesy of a reply?

  155. Comment by Angel posted on

    Sir Bob

    You and your wonderful team still haven't told us where all those in favour of yet another new PDR system come from?
    Who and where are all these people in favour?
    On pay progression, I have been on max for a number of years. A reward for my experience and hard work over the years!
    A whole load of notice boxes have been recruited - no experience, no knowledge, no willingness to help out or work hard - now on same pay as me.
    Do I feel undervalued etc?
    Please don't come up with that if you don't like it you can leave stuff - apart from anything else I actually still enjoy my job - when left in peace to do it properly.
    There aren't always suitable jobs to apply for and favouritism is rife in private sector also.
    Answer us properly Sir Bob!

  156. Comment by DMD posted on

    Dear Sir Bob,

    I doubt that you will read this. I spent a considerable time commenting in my staff survey, as did many of my colleagues, and yet DWP is apparently very proud of it's staff engagement score. After 32 years, I am certainly not proud to be a civil servant. I have been an SEO for 11 years and have managed hundreds of staff in that time , hopefully fairly and considerately, as I would chose to be managed myself . Sadly the Department now undermines everything we try to do. The Performance Management system is farcical and 'validation' meetings are moderating panels by another name. Not the intention may be, but who is validating that? Has anyone calcuated the cost of the number of appeals last year, many which were upheld? How can we motivate and reward our people when they go into a 'validation' meeting with an 'Exceeded' and come out with 'Achieved' because someone has decided that the curve must be met. That will be the curve that isn't a target, just a guideline! Worse still for those who went in 'Achieved' and came out 'Must Improve' in spite of not having a single discussion about improvement throughout the year. Talk to HR?? What about? The HRBP is present at these meetings so must condone what is happening. I have spoken to a senior HRBP, whose response was that it was not the intention of the policy to meet a curve. May be not, but it was someone's intention that we did. Try explaining to a member of staff that in spite of the evidence provided and the support given, they didnt get the marking they deserved because there were too many others who apparently deserved it better!
    On the subject of pay, there are many comments here about the loss of pay progression. We have not had this 'benefit' for many years in DWP. I was promoted in 2003 and in 11 years my pay has increased by just less than £3000. I will never reach scale max and in real terms my salary is worth less than the HEO scale I was on before( also not max) because of pension contributions. I do not object to contributing towards my pension, everyone else does, but I object to the way it erodes away the tiny pay increase each year. If we even get 1%, thats £350 for me before tax and my pension contribution will have gone up 1.9% over the last 12 months.
    Civil servants have always been the butt of media jokes so we cannot ever expect public sympathy, but may be occasionally, SCS should tell the press how it really is - how many of our staff claim tax credits or have second jobs to make ends meet, what is the real value of a 'gold plated' pension to the majority of staff who are Band B and Band C, not SCS? If we are meant to feel proud, show us that we are supported and valued through real pay rewards, not lip service.

  157. Comment by Richard posted on

    So, we have our pension contributions increased and then are told we are limited to a 1% pay increase, which in essence given the higher contribution to the pension results in an increase of below 0.5%.
    The civil service continues to shrink as government tries to reduce public spending, resulting in private companies doing the work (for profit) and department trimming their activities, even important ones, due to limited budgets. The same applies to Local Government. Whilst I applaud the current administration for its achievements in keeping inflation under control and stimulating the economy, I echo the thoughts of many on this blog, that the Civil Service is being trimmed too far and the good will of staff will sooner rather than later run out, especially when senior managers and MPs get high value bonuses and pay wards (even if the latter is through apparently impartial recommendations of working groups).
    It would be nice to see Sir Bob answer some of the challenges laid before him on this blog, by the staff he is supposed to be managing, as well.

  158. Comment by Richie posted on

    I had (on the dedicated blog) previously spoken in a positive light about the new PMR system introduced in the MoD. That is until a couple of weeks ago when an email was circulated stating that PMR reports that have been submitted to the personnel branch (and mine has) showed indications of "Over Marking" by the Counter Signing Officers.

    So my question is if the reports are showing signs of over marking what score is the Personnel Branch looking for? How can the personnel branch possibly even know if the report is "over marked" as no evidence is submitted to them and they no nothing of the jobs people do.

    I was scored as having 58 out of 66 possible points (in the MoD each report area is marked from 1 to 6, 1 being lowest 6 being highest). Is this score classed as "over marking" bacause all the evidence I provided supported this grading.

    Perhaps next year as all performance areas are scored out of a maximum of 6 points it might be better to select each area and then roll a dice and score each area on the value the dice shows. It would save time harvesting evidence to support the scores which clearly are not believed by the personnel branch any way.

    What appears to be a potentially sensible system is turning out to be a joke of a system.

    A further question I have is allegedly as it currently stands the Union I belong to called Prospect have not even approved this system.

    I am exceptionally disappointed.

  159. Comment by Still Slightly Miffed posted on

    A quick note about the HR teams.

    I had to contact them today with a question about a new rule that has come in from today (1/4/14) as I rang the number provider on the HR website.

    After going through a rat's maze of options, and waiting about 10 minutes in a queue, I was swiftly told that they are not there to answer policy questions, and to either speak to my manager, or look on the intranet.

    I caught up with my manager later on, who had no idea of the changes.

    Long and short of it, HR do not answer questions.

    Name still withheld due to fear of reprisals.

  160. Comment by PM Expert posted on

    Sir Bob
    I find it amazing that there is so much talk about employee engagement and that very senior leaders wonder why engagement scores are increasing only marginally or remaining static. It seems quite obvious to most people that the reasons are as follows:

    1) Pension contributions are increasing substantially year on year and the cost of living is rising, whilst incremental pay rises are no longer honoured, despite people being appointed on salary scales, which by their very definition mean increments should at least be achievable. At the same time cost of living rises, do not anywhere near keep pace with RPI/inflation.

    2) The distribution curve in the 'new' PMR system is in no way guided, it is being forced and anyone questioning this policy (and it is a policy if a three line whip is given by very senior leaders) risk a downgrading of their own box marking. This does not just effect people forced into the 'must improve' category but also those whose line managers consider have exceeded their expectations and done significantly more than their peers throughout the year. Yes, the policy means only 20% of our people could possibly have exceeded the objectives set by their line managers, who know them best.

    3) This forced curve policy risks undermining the engagement people have with their work and line managers, which in many respects compensates for the lack of engagement with senior leaders and organisations. It will also impact on team dynamics and performance if allowed to continue.

    4) Line managers are left to manage the dissapointment of motivated and previously engaged individuals, whilst not being able to tell them that the real reason for their box marking is a forced distribution curve, for which they are being held accountable.

    5) Everyone knows that civil service reform and the change agenda will result in significantly less jobs, particularly with digitalisation of services, yet the majority still do their upmost to support the change agenda. It is questionable how long will this good will last and even highly engaged leaders and middle managers who lead the majority of Civil Servants are becoming disillusioned with the undermining of their roles, all in the cause of what is perceived to be effective and robust performance management.

    This is not effective performance management. Although it has helped insome cases to ensure that poor performance is managed robustly, others who should never be categorised as 'must improve' have suffered that fate and those that play the corporate card continue to be rewarded with 'exceeds', whilst anyone who challenges implementation of forced curves, is deemed to be demonstrating undesirable behaviours.

    Performance is measured against vague generic objectives, which are open to interpretation and very few smart objectives exist. If you want to improve performance management in the Civil Service, look to local government and/or the private sector, where the vast majority of people have smart objectives set at the start of the year and where everyone is clear about what they must achieve or the stretch targets that would constitute exceeding expectations.

    • Replies to PM Expert>

      Comment by Mr formal warning guy posted on

      The civil service is inconsistent for all the talk alignments, little to no action.

      I am getting final warning meeting next week for 6 sick days in year new week.

      Because our department has set the parameter at 3 days for a formal management action, yet other departments have much higher parameters.

      When someone applies for a job it’s asked about formal action but as parameters in civil servant are so inconsistent. Then someone can be given preference in job interview with worse sickness record over someone with a better.

      This civil service is a shambles. The senior leaders such as bob have repeated failed make even the most basic alignments. While focusing on superficial gimmicks and non representative, publicity events, even the pension’s changes people such as bob are exempt from the ending of finial salary system, being on public sector transfer clubs. This is the same with some heads of departments.

      Its, all non merit privileges.

      A pointless rant

  161. Comment by Bernard Woolley posted on

    No replies to date, I wonder if any of the comments made on here are taken seriously.

    If a 1% payrise across the board is to be implemented then the calculations below should help.

    1% of £1 is 1p
    1% of £10 is 10p
    1% of £100 is £1

    so for every £100 earned you in theory should see an increase of £1
    so if you are on £10,000 you should now be on £10,100
    (Department of Administrative Affairs)

    • Replies to Bernard Woolley>

      Comment by Chris B posted on

      It would have been 'nice' if 1% had been awarded across the board. But some departments have chosen to give their staff even less, to the tune of a 0.5% 'payrise' for those on maximum of their pay band. Which is less than what the next round of pension contributions increase will remove from the pay packet.

  162. Comment by Bob posted on

    I clicked a link to this blog with the statment "Find out what Sir Bob is saying"

    Not that much it seems. I feel no need to add to the above as you have all said similar to myself and opened my eyes to some new angles but the distinct lack of response quite says it all.

    I think we were all meant to go along with what we are told, shame. Here, as in the office I work in, it simply does not pay to have a different opinion to that which we are told we should have. This last point takes on significance now we are judged on our 'behaviours'.

    Can I ask, Sir Bob. WHY is it simply not good enough to come into work, be pleasant and do the best job I can, which had always been good enough? Why must I now be judged as a person by people who do not know me? Also how does this fit in with Diversity?

  163. Comment by Last of a long line posted on

    All my direct ancestors have served in the CS in one way or another since the mid 1800's (Great-Great Grandfather if you want to know) if I have my way I will be the last. I would not recommend that my kids work here especially now with a forced ranking performance appraisal system that in private industry encouraged colleagues to compete against each other instead of working together to get the job done. I used to be proud to say I worked for the MOD, I was the first member of my group of friends to get a job and I am probably the only one who is still working for the same employer; does that make me a mug? The more things are tweaked to make them ‘farer’ the more I have to answer yes.

  164. Comment by Austerity posted on

    The answer to the appraisal issue is simple.
    Take the good bits from it (the what and how) so that both what someone does and their behaviours are taken into account. I have seen some good changes in people who now realise their behaviours matter, it is not just about productivity. This was a positive change and should be kept.
    Remove the bad bits - the distribution curve and comparison (ie competition) with peers, who may or may not be doing the same job. This is hugely damaging to individuals, teams and the business.
    Put in good bits - change the 3 levels to 4, so that those who truly do need improvement can be put in the 4 category and properly helped to improve.If that is not really possible, then dismissal may be a final option.
    The solution is simple. Sir Bob please do not defend the indefensible and please do not listen to the senior managers under you if they are saying everything is rosy and just bedding in - it is not (think of the Emperor's clothes story) and enable the changes suggested above so that the Civil Service can go forward as something we can all be proud of. The suggested changes would allow staff to concentrate on their jobs and providing an excellent service to the public, rather than thinking about and wasting hundreds if not thousands of man hours on an unworkable, unfair and unpopular appraisal system. It is, after all, tax payers money that is being wasted on the current appraisal system.
    One other thing - can we please have a staff survey where the questions are not loaded - simple straight forward questions that are not ambiguous and cannot be used against us.

  165. Comment by the smartest guy in the room posted on

    Not sure about the behaviour aspect, as tend to get yes men, group think.

    In practice the behaviour aspect may just reduce truth tellers.

    I am banned from forums, diversity networks.

    Contrary what may expect it’s not the ranting or pointless negative comments that get you banned its constructive dry criticism. Rants and straw men are more than welcome.

    I tend to think what makes the civil service so hopeless is the non merit approved “Oxbridge types” and the approved yes men deference.

    So personally I am not so sure about behaviours.

  166. Comment by Gareth Marklew posted on

    It's not surprising that so many comments on here refer to pay - because, at the end of the day, no matter what our job satisfaction or engagement, at the end of the day the take home pay we have in our pocket plays a key role in people's lives.

    Unfortunately, the oft repeated line that pay policy is dictated by Ministers, and that Departments can only act in line with that is wearing a bit thin, and is treated with scepticism because it ignores the fact that the senior members of the Civil Service are supposed to advise Ministers on policy decisons, and the implications of them. People might be a lot happier if we had the slightest indication that Permanent Secretaries had tried to persuade Ministers that pay freezes and below inflation pay increases were neither welcome nor desirable, particularly when combined with increases in pension contributions, cuts to staffing and detrimental changes to terms and conditions of service, (at a time when we're told that the economy is growing, and when Civil Servants as a class seem to be regularly briefed, spun against and demonised by Ministers and their Special Advisors). We don't expect Ministers to listen, but it'd be reassuring to know, at the least, that someone in the Senior Civil Service had advised against the pay policies that leave so many despairing.

    Certain elements of the media often like to portray the Civil Service as "bowler hatted Sir Humphreys". I've heard it noted that the difference is that the fictional Sir Humphrey was known to advise against following certain policies. From comments on pay and conditions from senior management, it would seem that they're not even consulted, or if they are, their only contribution is to agree with Ministers whatever is suggested.

    I'm sorry to hear that, like the rest of us, the Senior Civil Service is to be restricted to 1% pay increases. However, at least their members may take comfort from the fact that 1% of a Senior Civil Service wage is still a lot more than 1% of a more junior officer's salary. As Civil Servants we can't publicly disagree with government policy, no matter how misguided it may be - but how can we be reassured that our senior leaders are trying to secure decent pay for all their staff?

    • Replies to Gareth Marklew>

      Comment by Andrew posted on

      there was something in the news about SpAds getting raises of 10-65%, signed off by Treasury.

  167. Comment by Austerity posted on

    The SCS pay minima is being increased by over £4,000. For many that will be much more than a 1% pay rise!!! Many people have mentioned that the SCS are 'only' getting 1%, but the pay minima increase is huge!

  168. Comment by James Buckley posted on

    Dear Sir Bob,

    please read the following article on the BBC website:

    "There is a "culture of fear" in the Metropolitan Police because of the "draconian" use of performance targets, a report into the force has said".

    This is exactly what is happening in the civil service under your watch. The staff are begging you to think again on the cruel and divisive PMR system - please, please take this seriously before irreparable damage is done. I hope and pray that I'm wrong, but the civil service will have blood on its hands over this, mark my words.

    Thanks for listening

  169. Comment by Miles Nelson posted on

    Yesterday I received a reply to my Data Protection Act request for the evidence upon which my mid-year marking was concluded. There was none. There were a couple of emails that showed that my manager had not fully participated in the validation process and had not known, as at December 2013, how the marking had been settled.

    I think this speaks for itself as a comment on the PMR process.