Departmental Pay

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of staff in his Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The following table shows details of performance bonuses awarded to staff in DEFRA in each financial year since November 2004. Data prior to November 2004, are only available at disproportionate cost.

Period Number of staff awarded bonuses Proportion of workforce (Percentage) Highest bonus paid (£)
November 2004 - March 2005 (1)513 6.7 7,616
April 2005 - March 2006 (2)3,535 44.9 (3)12,000
April 2006 - March 2007 (2)2,239 37.3 15,147
April 2007 - March 2008 (2)1.818 36.9 15,640
(1) This figure includes in-year performance bonuses only, which are paid to staff at grade 6 and below.

(2) These figures include annual performance bonuses paid to staff in the SCS and at grade 6 and below. They also include in-year performance bonuses paid to staff at grade 6 and below.

(3) The figure quoted represents the highest bonus paid to a permanent member of staff. However, a higher bonus award of £34,040 was paid as an exceptional one-off circumstance, to a fixed-term appointee, as part of their contractual provisions.

The data cover annual performance bonuses paid to SCS and annual and in-year performance bonuses paid to staff in core-DEFRA and those Executive Agencies covered by the core-Department's terms and conditions (i.e. Animal Health, Marine and Fisheries Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, Government Decontamination Service and Pesticides Safety Directorate (who merged with the HSE on 1 April 2008).

Separate performance bonus arrangements operate for staff in the SCS and those at grade 6 and below.

For the SCS

Non-consolidated cash payments, otherwise known as bonuses, are used to reward in-year performance in relation to agreed objectives, or short-term personal contribution to wider organisational objectives. Bonuses are paid addition to base pay increase and do not count towards pension.

Bonuses are allocated by departments from a 'pot' expressed as a percentage of the SCS salary bill, which is agreed centrally each year following the SSRB recommendations. The intention is that the bonus decisions should be differentiated in order to recognise the most significant deliverers of in-year performance.

The Department has limited discretion in the application of the policy, as the criteria for the operation of the arrangements are determined centrally by the Cabinet Office.

For staff at grade 6 and below

The High Performance Bonus schemes introduced in April 2005, provide staff in core-DEFRA and those Agencies covered by the core-Departments pay arrangements (i.e. Animal Health, Marine and Fisheries Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Government Decontamination Service), with recognition and reward for delivery of an outstanding outcome or performance that significantly exceeds normal expectations.

The process should provide staff at all grades with an opportunity to earn a bonus, and ensure that achievements in operational, policy and corporate services areas are recognised as being of equal esteem.

These are two types of award:

In-year high performance bonuses paid to individuals or teams in recognition of one-off achievements during the year; and

Annual high performance bonuses, which are paid to the top 10 per cent. of performers in each DG for delivery of an outstanding outcome or performance sustained throughout the whole year.

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