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Home Office bids for 2% pay rise in PRRB letter

The Home Office has opened pay negotiations with a 2% pay offer.

The Home Office has started pay negotiations with a basic offer of 2% - and told employers they will need to justify more.

The politically-loaded statement was in the Home Office’s submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body, which was published late yesterday.

Staff side leaders are considering the statement but have already reacted with fury that the government wants a pay deal that is well below inflation following last year’s pay freeze.

The Home Office said: “Our current assessment is that the settlement provides funding for a pay uplift of at least 2% in the 2022/23 financial year, but we look to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) to make a strong case on affordability if they believe funding for a higher award is available.” 

Employers last year told the Home Secretary the pay decision was a mistake – and many went public.

Chiefs and PCCs were told in the statement that if they want to pay more, they will have to cut other priorities and wouldn’t be supported in future funding settlements by the Treasury.

The statement said: “It is important to emphasise that pay awards that exceed affordability will require challenging decisions to be taken to re-prioritise resources from elsewhere in policing.

“The scope to reprioritise funding and resources is limited, especially as PCCs work to deliver an additional 8,000 officers in 2022/23. Further, any recommendation this year will have an impact on future financial years and limit flexibility in later years of the Spending Review period.”

There was an added dig: “It is important that the total pay and reward package remains competitive against other apprentice and graduate labour markets to ensure the ambitious target to recruit 8,000 additional officers is met.”

The submission made no attempt to fix the fallout from last year’s pay freeze.

The PRRB is barely functioning after the Police Federation and Police Superintendents’ Association withdrew from the board last year and have not made submissions.

And there have been no Home Office meetings with the staff associations to discuss pay since they left the PRRB.

It came as the Scottish Police Federation submitted its pay claim of 3.4% across all ranks which will take account of "the prevailing economic conditions".

In detail

The Home Office submission is tilted towards meeting the manifesto pledge of recruiting new – and cheaper officers – over existing teams.

It said: “We must ensure that the affordability of a pay award is taken into consideration so that police forces are able to maximise the number of additional officers that they can recruit and ensure the ambition to recruit 20,000 officers by March 2023 is met.”

Complaints over performance payments and problems enabling response officers to move to detective roles have either not reached the Home Office or been ignored.

The statement said: “We note the PRRB’s comments in its last report that decreasing pay differentials with comparator groups may risk a detrimental effect on the morale and motivation of officers. We welcome updated commentary from the PRRB on this important issue in light of changes to the labour market since its last report.”

It added: “There continues to be anecdotal evidence about recruitment difficulties and increased attrition rates for some specialist roles. We have not received robust evidence about the nature of the problem and whether a variable pay award would be appropriate.

Staff side leaders gave an early indication that they were displeased.

The Police Federation has already called for the board to be replaced with a “fair, open and transparent mechanism for determining pay”.

It responded: “Inflation is 5% and likely to rise to 7%. Officers have now seen over 20% reduction in real terms over the last 15 years. What are you doing about it?”

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