Government pay similar to private sector, Keys told

By By John Turner john.turner@iomtoday.co.im twitter:@iomnewspapers in Politics

The proportion of highly-paid public sector employees is broadly in line with the private sector Keys members have been told.

Ramsey MHK Lawrie Hooper wanted to know what proportion of public sector workers earning more than £50,000 per year could be regarded as ’front line’ staff.

Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas told him the answer hinged on how he chose to define ’front line roles’.

For example he said in the UK Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary defined this as employees who ’make difficult decisions enforcing the law, managing or supporting police operations, holding prisoners in custody and responding to calls from the public’.

By contrast, he told members the Queensland local government of Australia defined it as: ’All of our staff in the public sector.’

This was later revised he said to mean roles directly delivering services to the public, and could include staff such as nurses, doctors, police and critical front-line support services such as hospital and school cleaning staff, for example.

Using the revised Queensland definition, he said a total of 657 employees earned more than £50,000 per year and, of those, 55 per cent could be said to work in ’front line roles’.

This percentage equated to 364 posts and, breaking this down further, included 126 people in the medical profession, 72 people in the teaching profession, 66 in the civil service and 47 in the nursing profession.

Mr Hooper questioned whether 55 per cent of the total who were not engaged in providing front line services was a reasonable proportion.

Mr Thomas said the public sector had already been under much pressure following reviews.

’After five years there is not much slack there and we now have to focus on the good value that public servants provide,’ he said, adding that under the original Queensland definition it could be argued that all public sector employees were in front line roles.

Douglas North MHK David Ashford pointed out that as a proportion of the total number of public sector employees (not just those in so-called front-line positions) those earning more than £50,000 represented about about four per cent.

’If my maths are correct, that matches pretty favourably with the private sector,’ he said.

Mr Thomas reminded members there were about 8,000 public sector employees in the island.

Mr Thomas said there was a pay premium for the public sector, to some extent reflecting higher educational qualifications of some of the staff employed.

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Chris Thomas · 34 days ago · Report

Thanks Fell. The headcount is FTE, and will not include contractors etc.. I have not got the proportionate changes you request to hand, but there have been salary increases in that period, as well as other cost increases for government.

Fell · 36 days ago · Report

Chris, Thank you very much for providing the information. If I have got this right - full time equivalent staff numbers in the public sector have reduced by about 7% over the decade (wasn't the target 10%?) and government costs have increased by 9% in the same period. Has the cost of employment, as part of total government spending, reduced or have the savings in headcount been swallowed by increased average employee total costs? And do the headcount numbers include contract staff?

Conch · 37 days ago · Report

but best way to minimise this is to anonymise cv's which I believe HR started doing last year? in the interests of fairness and promote on merit only not on who you know? or who is related to who second time removed....

Conch · 37 days ago · Report

Corruption goes on everywhere in the most respected of organisations - the Met police for eg, it has been rife, it is human nature and actually can't be stopped completley, nowhere is immune from nepotism. The island being so tiny there is an element of nepotism here which is quite strong. The sense of entitlement from some here and everybody knows everyone and people's aunties, uncles, relatives in similar jobs - there is a grain of truth in Gav's comment, people are hardly going to admit this

Manx born (formerl CV) · 38 days ago · Report

Excellent responses Mr Thomas, thank you. Gav, you sound like some who had been squeezed out. Is this correct? And where is your evidence of corrupt practices?

Gav · 38 days ago · Report

Oracle data is inaccurate,everyone knows that Chris.The less people there are, the more ridiculously top heavy it all is.Just because someone has a phd,doesn't mean you have to pay then 50000 to drive a bus.This shows a corrupt recruitment policy that gives overpaid jobs to friends of certain individuals. Its common knowledge when this happens but laws are unenforceable for those squeezed out.

Chris Thomas · 38 days ago · Report

ET You are right about difference between Annual Report and my Keys answer. In Keys I provided Oracle HR system list based on Basic Pay. I believe Treasury used Total Earnings. Also there are extra posts in Treasury figures as definition is wider. For instance I believe MHKs are included in Treasury Annual Report list but not in Oracle HR system listing government employees. David Ashford's on the hoof % calculation was of Non-front line over £50,000 basic pay government employees.

Chris Thomas · 38 days ago · Report

ET Citing recent earnings survey: "public and private sectors have workforces which are composed quite differently....many of the lowest paid occupations, such as bar and restaurant staff, hairdressers, elementary sales occupations and cashiers, exist primarily in the private sector. while there are a larger proportion of graduate level and professional occupations in the public sector."

Chris Thomas · 38 days ago · Report

ET/Fell "People in post" in government fell from 7829 in 2011 to 7280 in 2016. Government expenditure rose this last decade by about 1/9th from around £900 million. Conch Which aspects of employment law apply differently between private and public sectors? People leave public sector jobs for similar reasons to those for leaving private sector jobs.

Chris Thomas · 38 days ago · Report

ET/Fell "People in post" in government fell from 7829 in 2011 to 7280 in 2016. Government expenditure rose this last decade by about 1/9th from around £900 million. Conch Which aspects of employment law apply differently between private and public sectors? People leave public sector jobs for similar reasons to those for leaving private sector jobs.

Chris Thomas · 38 days ago · Report

Here is the evidence Gav Public Services Commission 2016 Annual Report https://www.gov.im/lib/docs/hr/Information_Centre/pscreport201516.pdf. Oracle HR system list of posts with basic pay over £50,000 http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/2017-NN-0014.pdf. How do you interpret the evidence, and what should be changed as a consequence of it?

Gav · 38 days ago · Report

Conflicting figures that don't add up.Much like our whole gov.The Minister of Excuses chose his comparators to confuse us public and excuse the total lackof reform of the public sector.High earmers are part of a network of unqualified loafers who protect each other.

ET · 38 days ago · Report

I imagine Fell that support for the pension scheme and the cost of increased unemployment and benefits subject to current social benefit allowances is the glue holding the monolith together in its current unaffordable size and shape. BUT, it can't continue indefinitely without optimistically large economic growth. It's part of the 'sweep it under the carpet' approach to economics. It simply won't work as an economic strategy.

Fell · 38 days ago · Report

ET the growth can be monitored by questions on the size of the public sector. Certainly in the mid '00s it had grown about 33% from 10 years previously according to government statistics. What would be interesting to know is by how much it has now reduced and what the cost reductions have been. Do you recall Bell or Teare saying that they couldn't cut back significantly because that would put pensions in payment at risk.

ET · 39 days ago · Report

Fell....It's only useful as a reminder of Government excesses with regards to the leap in staffing numbers over the last 15 years as technology intended to save time and money actually resulted in additional staffing. Something seriously didn't work out and the Isle of Man continues annually to be in deficit with a solution firmly cemented within growth and not prudent cost cutting. If growth is only visible within half-truths there's no solution.

Manx born (formerl CV) · 39 days ago · Report

Conch, you seem to be in the know about life in the civil service. How many years did you spend in it?

Conch · 39 days ago · Report

job security in civil service means no pressure, no targets and little incentive to improve things as they plod along knowing they will always have a job...the union will always be there to protect and bail them out, in the main, unlike in private sector you have pressure to outstandingly perform or out

Conch · 39 days ago · Report

£26,900 in a job where you can't be gotten rid off like in private sector have little pressures and where you have no targets ... not bad

Fell · 39 days ago · Report

It is difficult to compare public and private sectors without looking at total employment costs - for example how do the employer costs of pension schemes compare between private and public sectors? How do other non cash benefits compare? What value can be placed on job security? The top 4% of public and private sectors are no doubt intellectually comparable. Some of the competencies and skills sets are quite different. But at the end of the day how useful and practical is this debate anyway?

Conch · 39 days ago · Report

when you add that salary to the still generous pension they earn considerably more than any private sector worker. you'd have to be high up in a bank to earn anywhere near £26,900 in fact you 'd be luck to get £14,000 a year

Conch · 39 days ago · Report

wouldn't describe many civil service roles as front line, many are back office and very well paid for what can be menial admin. considering only need a GCSE English pass to become a Secretary and earn more than a similar role in private sector with extremely better terms conditions, holidays annual leave bank holidays pension and sick. Same as basic admin roles, a 5 GCSE AO grade would earn £26,900? . that is high compared to similar post around £14,000 and you would not get this in a bank

ET · 39 days ago · Report

"Mr Thomas said there was a pay premium for the public sector, to some extent reflecting higher educational qualifications of some of the staff employed.". I don't believe this particular comment covers the 699 employees remunerated between the £50,000 to £75,000 band. In fact it wouldn't even cover the House of Tynwald and its occupants.

ET · 39 days ago · Report

By IOM Gov's own audited accounts for 2015/16 there is a total of 963 government employees earning between £50,000 to £325,000 per year. That equates to 12% of the total workforce of 8000. Where exactly does this equate with the private sector? David Ashford's magic figure of 4% is equally baffling in it's creativity. Yet another confidence boost in tackling the economic issues that sit waiting on the event horizon.

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