Tynwald attack on top civil servants

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THE setting up of a Corporate Leadership Group of top ranking civil servants was a ‘serious, predictable and expensive error of judgement’ – resulting in wage increases outstripping savings

At a time when the government is repeatedly telling us to tighten our belts, that’s the damning verdict of a Tynwald standing committee which also concludes that even the term Corporate Leadership Group is a ‘misnomer’ as ‘it’s not corporate, is not exclusively about leadership and is not a group as it never meets’.

The report brands the initiative as showing ‘an astonishingly poor relationship between costs and benefit’, pointing out that it has resulted in a £50,000 cost of increased salaries for the top earners while savings over the first four years have added up to just £24,300. And it notes it will be a long time before the initial outlay of £320,000 on consultancy costs will be recouped.

The Corporate Leadership Group was set up in January 2007 as part of a programme to modernise and reform the civil service. It comprises about 70 ‘top’ civil servants.

But there was soon criticism that it had resulted in less accountability and led to the top earners being awarded higher pay.

The new group’s first objective was to be corporate in outlook and action but the standing committee report, to be presented to Tynwald next week, said this could have been achieved just as well under the previous system.

Similarly, the second stated objective of enhancing learning and development could have been attained without any changed in the senior officers’ term and conditions of employment, the report notes.

The standing committee also questioned the need for the Civil Service Commission to approve rates of pay higher than the equivalent post in the UK.

‘We are not convinced by the arguments the commission has offered that the commission should assume a general requirement to pay more than the UK going rate for any civil service post.’

The six job roles given the greatest increase in pay range maxima with the setting up the Corporate Leadership Group were the chief officer in the personnel office (£23,324), the chief secretary (£15,989), the chief executive of the Department of Health and Social Security and the Director of Education (both £14,170) and the chief executives of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture (both £13,650).

But the chief personnel officer’s salary actually went up only £6,064 and the Chief Secretary’s by less than £2,322.

Following the introduction of the Corporate Leadership Group in 2007, the chief secretary’s pay range started at £103,450 and had a new upper limit of £129,310 while the chief personnel officer’s pay range was £69,052 to a new maximum of £86,312.

The committee, whose chairman Clare Christian MLC will present the report to Tynwald next week, makes eight recommendations including that each Corporate Leadership Group role should be re-evaluated every five years.

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