Engage with unions on pay

Government must engage with civil service unions on pay

The government has no vision for civil service pay with the coalition partners unable even to agree on guidance to try to explain their flawed regional pay strategy, writes Sue Ferns in this month's blog on the Guardian Public Leaders network website.

If they are serious about sustainable pay reform they need to look and listen more widely, argues Prospect's head of research.

With the launch of its pay strategy Prospect genuinely wants to engage with the government to underpin the vital contribution made by specialist civil servants.

"First, we would like to see a comprehensive pay levels exercise in 2013-14. There is no single published source of data that will adequately address the market for the range of civil service functions but regular surveys of relevant external data, independently co-ordinated, could provide a better basis for managing civil service pay and making sure that skill needs can be met."

Second, the union wants to see the creation of a pay review body for the wider civil service to ensure that the evidence relating to reward by function or professional group can be properly and transparently considered.

"At present there is a review body for senior salaries, which includes the Senior Civil Service (SCS), and one for the Prison Service. But, unlike teaching or the NHS, there is no public forum that focuses service-wide and applies independent and expert challenge on issues of pay and workforce development.

"Prospect fully recognises the constraints under which pay review bodies operate but we do note that, in contrast to the other major sectors, there has been no fundamental review of civil service pay in the past 20 years."

Read the full article on the Guardian Professional website.

Prospect members are encouraged to sign up to the newspaper's public leaders' network.