Three big local authorities have joined forces to become the first councils to introduce total reward statements for their staff.
Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire councils are working with flexible benefit provider Vebnet on pilot schemes with a view to rolling out statements to 60,000 public sector employees.
Historically, local government pay and benefit packages have been stigmatised and under-valued by employees. In fact, public sector benefits such as pension, holiday and flexible working often hold a higher value than those in the private sector.
In a bid to counteract this perception, the Cabinet Office has recommended that public sector bodies consider introducing total reward statements as a means of communicating and reinforcing the value of benefits to staff. These value the benefits provided to each employee, and present this in the form of an individual statement tailored to the needs of the organisation.
Senior directors in the public sector see moving towards a total reward environment as a key challenge for HR in the coming year.
Gill Hibberd, corporate director, people and policy at Buckinghamshire County Council, said local authorities needed to boost the value employees put on their benefits, particularly at a time of below-inflation pay deals. Council workers have been offered a pay rise of 2.45% this year – which has been rejected by unions.
“Councils need to look at other ways of holding on to their staff and getting them to think about what makes them great employers,” she said. If the pilots are successful, there is no reason why other authorities across the UK shouldn’t introduce total reward statements as well, Hibberd added.
The first pilot will be rolled out in September, with an evaluation survey conducted three months later.