Agency Continues to Embargo Independent Pay Recommendations

7/20/2022

Dear Members, 

Last month, the Agency provided a copy of the NCARRB 2022 report to senior Trade Union officials on an embargoed basis, which we have been able to examine in detail. 

You will now be aware of recent communication from the Agency which attempts to explain the mess it is now embroiled in with regards to pay awards for its staff this year.

For the Agency to admit that it is now in discussions with Whitehall before the independent report of the NCARRB can be made public, is revealing. More so, that it now admits being involved in private negotiations with other Government departments to decide which of the independent recommendations should be approved. They have openly provided evidence to you all that the independent pay review process is far from independent in practice. 

Whilst we are forced to accept the embargo being imposed upon us, it would be inappropriate for us to remain silent on issues affecting your pay award, which despite being an annual event will be delayed this year.

Although the NCOA has previously been heavily criticised by the Agency in relation to our ‘warts and all’ reporting on pay outcomes, we have in the current pay cycle already taken part in several meetings with Senior NCA Officers, including the Director General. 

At some of these formal discussions with the Agency, attempts have been made to secure our support for awards which sit below those recommended by the NCARRB. Given that we enter into the independent pay process each year in good faith, we have been unambiguous in stating that the absolute minimum pay awards due to all NCA officers in 2022 are those recommended by the NCARRB.

We have reminded the NCA that none of our Members are protected from the current cost of living crisis and yet accept with humility, the restrictions placed upon them by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (which at the same time invoked a legal requirement for an independent NCA pay review body). 

It would therefore be disingenuous to NCA officers if the Agency or HM Government sought to vary or diminish these NCARRB recommendations, which are borne out of an independent assessment of all the evidence available. To expect the NCOA to support such changes is astonishing, given the additional convention which has seen the NCARRB process establish the pay uplifts of all NCA officers since 2014 - powers or not. 

Whilst the merry-go–round of Ministerial appointments may have had some impact on the Agency’s ability to deliver its pay award this year, there are clearly other factors at play. This includes confusing evidence provided by the Agency for a transitional pay award in 2022, which would have delivered neither further pay reform nor cushion NCA officers from the impact of the existing extraordinary economic climate. 

Yesterday, we witnessed that other Pay Review Bodies (Police, Nurses & Teachers etc) have been able to publicly report their findings and recommendations - which is very telling. Significantly, members of the NCARRB are the same individuals with parallel responsibility for reporting on Police pay through the Police Remuneration Review Body. The Home Office have already agreed and funded the largest single pay uplift in a decade, for every Police Officer, in recognition of cost-of-living crisis and the need to support these officers through it. 

We will be providing updates following further engagement with the Agency and then once the NCARRB 2022 report is finally published.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Bond

NCOA National Officer

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