Equal pay claims threat to Civil Service

The threat of equal pay claims across the Civil Service is looming after a report revealed huge pay differentials between staff, two years after the government first noted the problem.

The Civil Service Commissioners’ annual report found that external appointees to Whitehall jobs were commanding up to double the salaries of people promoted internally.

The report said: “One area of concern is that salaries awarded to the successful candidates for the 90 external competitions we chaired did not always match those advertised. In some cases, salaries were considerably in excess of those quoted.”

In one case, the successful candidate was paid more than 100% over the base line, the report said. “At the other end of the spectrum, eight civil servants who were successful after open competition were paid less than the advertised remuneration.”

Insiders have revealed that these two-tier payments are causing severe morale difficulties and could lead to legal challenges.

The government highlighted the risk in evidence to the Senior Salaries Review Body as far back as 2005, when it said the dual market was an inevitable result of broadening recruitment practice. “But there are growing risks for motivation, equal pay and retention,” it added.

Senior civil service union the FDA is working with the Cabinet Office on a review of pay and performance.

FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume told Personnel Today: “We need to question whether the skills and performance of external recruits deliver value for money in proportion to their larger salaries.”

HR recruitment tracked

The Civil Service Commissioners’ report tracked the recruitment process for nine HR director roles. Six were filled from outside the Civil Service, just one was filled by an existing civil servant, and two offers were not taken up, even by reserve candidates.

The report found that departments could have had more engagement with candidates during the process that internal candidates were less positive about the recruitment experience than external jobseekers and that there were some errors in the whole process.

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