State Hospital (Recruitment and Retention Payments)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 6 June 2013.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

5. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s position is on recruitment and retention payments paid to senior management at the state hospital. (S4F-01449)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

The recruitment and retention premium for staff at the state hospital, under the agenda for change terms and conditions, was put in place on 24 June 2005 by the Scottish pay reference and implementation group, operating under delegated authority from the then Scottish Executive ministers. That premium applies to staff who have on-going access to the state hospital’s secure environment, recognising the unique and challenging environment of working at the state hospital.

The terms and conditions for state hospital senior managers were published on 18 October 2006 and make clear that, unless specified otherwise, managers are also covered by agenda for change terms, which would include the retention premium.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

I encourage the First Minister to read all of the letter from the Scottish pay reference and implementation group of 24 June 2005, because it makes clear that senior staff in the state hospital are not part of the agenda for change pay scales. Senior staff do not qualify for the special payment, which applies only to front-line staff, yet all of the senior staff at the state hospital received an extra £7,000, backdated to 2005, at a time when pay was frozen for everybody else.

Does the First Minister share my anger that senior staff have taken it upon themselves to pay themselves more money, without knowledge or sign-off by the cabinet secretary, which is required? Will he therefore ensure that the matter is investigated independently of the state hospital?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I wish that Jackie Baillie had listened to the answer because if she had done so she would have heard me talk not just about the 24 June 2005 agenda for change terms and conditions but about the terms and conditions for state hospital senior managers, published on 18 October 2006, which make it clear that, unless specified otherwise, the managers are also covered by agenda for change terms, which would include the retention premium. That is the position that the civil service has come up with.

Jackie Baillie will have noticed that the terms of 24 June 2005 and 18 October 2006 follow the contractual obligations. She cannot seriously be suggesting that contractual obligations, particularly those that were negotiated under the previous Labour-Liberal Government, should not be followed through. Jackie Baillie should consider whether it is wise to impugn the integrity of people at the state hospital, given the indication that has been provided by the civil service that they were following the rules as laid down by the previous Labour-Liberal Administration.