Rethink needed on senior civil service bonuses

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 10 December 2008

Reference: FP03/08/09

The Committee for Finance and Personnel is calling for an urgent rethink on senior civil service pay. That is the message following an investigation into the award of over £1m in bonuses which over 75% of senior officials received.

The Committee Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA explained, “The Committee has scrutinised the bonus scheme for senior civil servants and has looked at their underperformance in a range of areas, including managing finances, projects and sick absence.

“We believe that, while any pay strategy should include a system of performance incentives and rewards, it also must be robust, transparent and ‘fit for purpose’.

“Moreover, the Committee was alarmed to note that senior civil servants here earn over 22% more than their private sector equivalents. This represents a considerable pay premium compared to other regions.

“By contrast, the junior grades in the Civil Service, who comprise around three quarters of the total and whose pay is negotiated locally, are paid on a par with those in equivalent private sector positions.

The Committee is recommending to the Minister of Finance and Personnel that there should be an independent review of the existing pay system for senior officials to assess whether it is ‘fit for purpose’.


Notes for Editors

  1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister. Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
  2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
  • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
  • call for persons and papers;
  • initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its minister.
  1. Committee Members:

Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein) 
Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP) 
Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance) 
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein) 
Jennifer McCann (Sinn Fein) 
David McNarry (UUP) 
Adrian McQuillan (DUP) 
Declan O’Loan (SDLP) 
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP) 
Dawn Purvis (PUP) 
Peter Weir (DUP)

Media enquiries should be addressed to: 
Debra Savage, Press Officer, Press Office, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX 

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