I know that the recent Agency update on NCA pay has been met with both incredulity and extreme disappointment by many NCOA members.
Let’s not forget that on the 2nd June 2023, NCA officers received a letter from Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service which stated ‘We are writing to inform you that ministers have agreed to allow departments to make a fixed payment of £1500 to civil servants in delegated grades in recognition of the public service and the challenges of cost of living. Your senior leadership teams will shortly be writing to you with the next steps being taken in your organisation and will be working to make this payment as early as possible’.
That same day, you received the following information on the £1500 payment from Graeme Biggar ‘This is excellent news, and a product of sensitive discussions behind the scenes between Ministers and Perm Secs. We will be working as a management team with finance colleagues to consider how NCA affords this payment (as we will need to find it within existing NCA budget), but I wanted to confirm to you that our intention is that all NCA officers below SCS will receive the £1500 payment (pro-rated for part time workers). We will aim to pay it in the August payroll.
In addition, and in complete contrast to the most recent DG update, the commitment made on the 2nd June 2023 was that ‘The payment is separate to the 2023/24 NCA pay award.’
As we articulated in our own NCARRB submission and associated NCOA Members Briefs, the NCOA has always had reservations whether the NCARRB routing was the correct process by which the £1500 non-consolidated payment could be secured. Having read the Home Secretary’s remit and commissioning letter, we have included both evidence and our proposal on this payment in our written evidence.
The recent DG livestream seems to be giving a steer to NCA officers that the Agency are no longer actively seeking to make this payment. Many of our members are already contrasting the position of the Executive Leadership of the NCA with that of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who recognising that pay review bodies, report only on consolidated pay and allowances, took the bold decision to award all MPS staff an additional, one off £1000 payment.
Whilst the latest DG blog has highlighted to our members what the Agency may not be willing to pay in 2023/24 (if it comes to an either or choice), the failure of the Agency to publish its own NCARRB written evidence on time for the 8th consecutive year, means that you do not even know what the Agency are seeking to pay you.
The NCOA do not recognise a ‘choice’ as delivering a legitimate conclusion to an independent, evidence based pay review body process. On behalf of our members, in our next engagement with the Agency, we will be insisting that they must fight hard to secure a minimum 7% uplift - in addition to the £1500 cost of living payment promised 4 months ago.
It is clear from the results of the Agency’s own staff survey and the recent NCOA indicative ballot, that many NCA officers have already lost confidence in the Agency’s ability to deliver meaningful pay awards on time. This latest U-turn by your employer means that many of you are questioning their competence to deliver pay reform as well.
The NCOA is already in dispute with the Agency regarding NCA pay, many of you have withdrawn your goodwill. There remain pockets across the Agency where senior leaders have unrealistic expectations of our members. Some leaders believe that the NCA Operating Procedures regarding on-call can be bypassed by seeking our members commit to being available on rest days and in some cases, bank holidays without payment.
The NCOA recognises that many of our members are reliant on working additional hours for overtime payment to cope with the additional cost of living financial pressures - exacerbated by the latest news from the DG. Our advice is, do not volunteer to be ‘available’, unless you insist that you receive payment for being on-call.
It is only by showing this collective strength of feeling that the Agency will act to resolve the disruption to the lives of NCOA members caused by its mismanagement of NCA pay. The leverage which NCOA members have in only delivering their contractual responsibilities, cannot be underestimated. If the NCA Remuneration Review Body (NCARRB) eventually choose to support/recommend the payment of the £1500 - and HM Government authorise it, it will be as a result of the resolve of NCOA members alone, having shown that they are no longer willing be treated in this disingenuous way by their employer.
I will be giving verbal evidence to the NCARRB on the 25th October 2023. The issues identified in this brief will be brought to the attention of the pay review body members at that time.
The NEC are also planning to deliver a series of NCOA Rep led member meetings both in person and remotely, to help coordinate the withdrawal of goodwill activity.
NCOA NCARRB written evidence remains available to view at: https://www.ncoa.org.uk/media/1274/ncoa-9th-submission-to-the-ncarrb-200923.pdf
National Officer, NCOA