As outlined in my communication dated the 14th July, I am pleased to report that the Director General agreed to meet face to face in order that I could raise NCOA concerns on the delayed 2023 pay award and also present the findings of the recent consultative ballot - along with themes from the many comments made. Also present during that meeting were other senior leaders and NCOA National Officer Steve Bond.
The meeting presented us with a useful platform for a professional exchange of views which focussed on,
• Understanding the delays this year
• The delayed £1500 non-consolidated award
• Utilising the NCARRB to make a recommendation on a non-consolidated award (their remit is only to make recommendations on consolidated, i.e., pensionable,
• Understanding why the £1500 had not been paid immediately to those officers who form part of the non-powered group (and potentially lower paid members
staff who need that money now)
• The status of the Remit Letter which triggers the current pay engagement with the Pay Review Body (in the first instance)
• What the Agency is doing to help officers cope with the cost-of-living crisis (particularly anything which is not linked to performance)
• A better understanding of the future of RRA and SDP payments which appear to have morphed into ‘salary compensation payments’ rather than their original
intention. This year, a third of the workforce had been considered for an RRA - which is surely unsustainable and must explain why some recipients are now
seeing payments reduced year on year
• The withdrawal of goodwill from the 25th August
Issues raised by members were not dissimilar, and we highlighted that many felt that the pay process was not transparent, that many officers were absolutely feeling the strain financially, and that their position could not be properly understood by SCS grades commanding huge salaries (in comparison). I also informed the DG that in response to some alarming comments drawn out during the ballot, we felt compelled to reach out to some individuals to make them aware of our hardship fund.
It is a fact that in the past 12 months we have made numerous payments to NCA officers who are struggling to cope in the current cost-of-living crisis. Consistent delays to NCA annual pay awards are not helping.
Given the determinations already made (and scheduled to be paid next month at the latest) and in light of a genuine cost-of-living crisis (which is not grade specific), we made our position on this year’s award quite clear,
• A minimum 7% uplift to be paid equally across all grades. Without this, the Police pay gap widens further. (Unison are currently recommending the acceptance of
a 7% award for Police Staff too)
• £1500 non-consolidated payment to all officers
• Recognising the limited pay progression currently available, that the Agency focusses on opening up a totally achievable Expert Spot Rate – which exists on paper
but not elsewhere beyond the AOU. This should form part of future pay progression mechanisms - and be available to all
Having seen the pay remit letter yesterday, I must admit Steve and I were quite surprised at the following reference to the £1500 payment, ‘The Agency has decided to defer any payment pending NCARRB’s report’, which does not reflect the conversation we had earlier this week at our meeting in London. Given the stresses across lower Grades (and more than likely, non-powered roles), we believe that any additional delays built in unnecessarily, represent a failure to release funds which are meant to deliver immediate financial respite at this time.
We also commented in our engagement with the DG that we are aware that the Metropolitan Police had recently paid additional cost of living payments to staff - which sit beyond the ratified PRRB awards to be implemented next month.
Separately from our face to face meeting on Monday, it is now our understanding (staggeringly), that there could be yet further delays being built in to the current already delayed pay process, which will become clearer as the timetabling becomes known – hopefully in the next few weeks.
Whilst the issuing of the Pay remit letter is useful, I would remind you all that this is merely the trigger for a pay award process which should have concluded in July. The NCOA will do whatever we can to rapidly respond to any expedited formal timetable, however at this stage it seems a payment just before Christmas is a barely achievable target.
I intend to communicate further next week, just before August pay day – the normal settlement day for any NCA annual pay award.
Simon Boon - NCOA General Secretary