Prospect condemns Home Office treatment of its specialist staff

18 Sep 2019

Home Office treatment of its specialist staff is ‘deplorable’, says Prospect.

The department has frozen the pay ranges of specialist staff for the third year running, depriving them of the same pay rises as generalist staff and their fair share of the limited money on offer.

Prospect and the other civil service unions urged all departments and agencies to submit a business case for increasing pay by more than the 2% set down by the Treasury. But the Home Office declined to do so.

Prospect negotiator Rose Willis said: “This is another totally unsatisfactory pay award that fails to deal with the underlying problems of the Home Office pay system, particularly for specialist grades.

“Specialists will only receive a 1.5% progression award and none of the additional increases to pay minima and maxima.”

The Home Office justified its position by saying that the whole system for Home Office specialist pay needed to be reformed.

Willis countered that the staff concerned should not be paying the price because the employer keeps delaying the review.

Performance system

Prospect also set out its ongoing disagreement with a performance system that only rewards 4* performers.

“Very few civil service employers still use individual end of year ratings for individual performance awards, so the Home Office is out of step in using this divisive system.

“We will review the equality data when it is provided to check that the system is not discriminating against certain groups of staff,” Willis added.

The key elements of the pay offer, effective from 1 July 2019, are:

  • a 2% overall increase to the Home Office paybill
  • an underpinning 2% or £430 pay award to all staff, through consolidated and non-consolidated awards
  • AA and AO spot rates revalorised by between 1.5% and 2.5%
  • EO to Grade 6 pay ranges shortened so that the minima is 13% less than the maxima
  • progression payments of 1.5% depending on position in range
  • generalist pay range awards delivered in three steps: Step 1 – a minimum 1% consolidated payment for all employees (except those on specialist pay ranges or legacy shift working allowances); Step 2 – an additional tapered, consolidated progression increase of up to 1.5%; Step 3 – an additional 1.8% uplift of the range minima (excluding specialist pay ranges), providing an additional 0.3% consolidated increase to those at the minimum of the ranges
  • specialist pay ranges frozen (including the ASO spot rate); a 1.5% increase, depending on position in pay range will be applied; increases of less than 2% consolidated will be topped up to 2% with non-consolidated pay
  • those not receiving a full 2% consolidated increase will receive non-consolidated, top-up payments
  • any staff below the minima of new pay ranges will be uplifted to the minima
  • staff on legacy shift allowances will receive a non-consolidated payment of 2%
  • individual performance awards to those with a 4* rating, payable later in 2019.

The department also committed to: review specialist pay arrangements in time for 2020 pay round; review five historic allowances in 2020; review the recruitment and retention allowance framework in Digital, Data and Technology and deal with holiday pay and overtime.