NPS Pay Offer – clarification on future pay progression

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19/10/2018

NPS Pay Offer – clarification on future pay progression

Napo HQ and local Napo reps are being regularly asked about what happens in terms of pay progression in April 2020. We believe that confusion has arisen due to some comments that have reportedly been made at UNISON pay briefings and the interpretation of their published information.

We of course work closely with our sister union and can only respect the fact that their position on the NPS pay offer is different to ours. This briefing from the Napo pay negotiators and the National Chair therefore sets out the facts behind this issue.

Where to get the facts

For the facts about what is in the offer and the proposal for an NPS Competency Based Pay Progression Framework (CBPPF), please refer to the pay modernisation page on the NPS intranet and the Napo briefing on the website.

We obviously cannot control information being circulated by others and would urge you not to rely on information sources outside of official Napo communications which may either not be accurate or which may seek to present personal opinion as fact.

No performance related pay

Similarly, we have heard that some very confusing messages have come from some NPS leaders that your future pay will be performance related and linked to the NPS appraisal system. There is no foundation to this suggestion and the unions flatly rejected any such notion in the negotiations leading up to this pay offer.

Pay progression and the pay remit process

In the NPS FAQs (available on the intranet) the issue of progression is covered by FAQ54, unfortunately some confusion has been caused by the answer to FAQ 42

Pay progression is different to a pay award. Progression is the process by which staff will move to the rate for the job through the pay scale.

A pay award is an annually negotiated increase in pay (usually a percentage) applied to the pay scales. Civil Service departments plan for pay progression in their forecast budgets. If they want to make a pay award as well, they must seek separate permission from the Treasury.

In Probation these remits have been limited to 1% which has been used up by the current incremental progression formula, which was meant to be negotiated annually.

This is one of the major reasons why Napo has campaigned so hard to achieve this major breakthrough on pay for all of our NPS members.

Some members are understandably concerned that pay progression from 2020-21 is not yet certain, because of concerns that the Treasury remit process will not allow the release of future funds. This may be because of what you have heard elsewhere, or due to the acknowledged difficulty in understanding the complexity of the Government’s remit process.

Every year, Departments calculate their known anticipated pay bill and request permission from the Treasury to increase this for negotiation on union claims (e.g. inflation based pay rises, or moving grade boundaries say as a result of Job Evaluation) the remit sets how much money the department then has with which to negotiate.

So if a department’s pay bill is £100M now and the remit from Treasury next year is 1%, the pay bill rises to £101M; if it were a 3% increase in the remit the pay bill would rise to £103M.

Progression costs already factored in

In the proposed NPS deal, the future progression costs have already been approved by the Treasury and have become part of the known anticipated NPS pay bill, and so are outside of the scope of the above remit formula. We have assurances from the employer that progression costs are fully costed and budgeted for within the HMPPS pay forecasts for at least the next 10 years.

What could change this position?

Nevertheless, HMPPS are cautious of saying progression is “guaranteed”. This is because future Government policy, depending on who is in Government by year 3 of the deal and beyond, could change either way. For example, it may be that members instruct Napo’s negotiators to seek an additional cost of living pay rise, but if existing Government policy on Probation pay progression continues then all progression payments would be secured.

This position could only be endangered if a catastrophic event prompting cuts in actual existing pay for public servants – this would be unprecedented, and which we would anticipate challenging alongside all other public service unions.

Why we recommend the pay offer

Napo are confident in recommending this offer to members but we recognise that it does not provide all that we were seeking. We also appreciate that many members will be mistrustful of their employer and many will also remember the last major pay restructure which, due to subsequent political decisions about pay, resulted in the problems you now face with pay scales which are too long and no pay awards for those at the top.

Many of the Napo elected Officers are facing these pay difficulties themselves so you can be sure they are well understood. Napo would not be recommending this offer if we did not believe it was being entered into in good faith.

The lessons of the previous 2008 pay deal (where future progression costs were not built in) are forefront in our minds. This offer begins to rectify some of the major pay problems that have resulted and we have secured a commitment to carry out further work on a number of other issues as well as that pertaining to the CBPPF.

Your pay enquiries

We obviously anticipated receiving a number of pay enquiries and Napo are responding to these just as soon as we can. Ideally, if it is possible to route these via your local Napo representative that would help, but otherwise please contact us at info@napo.org.uk.

Napo membership on the increase!

Please try and refrain from telephoning Napo HQ as our membership section here are working flat out processing significant numbers of new membership applications that have reached us within days of the NPS pay offer being published.

Please help us with our campaign to see Napo membership grow by engaging with colleagues who do not currently belong to a trade union and ask them to join our campaign for fair pay #payUnity for all of our members working in the NPS and CRCs.

Ian Lawrence Katie Lomas Dean Rogers
General Secretary National Chair Assistant General Secretary

18th October 2018

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