The NCOA have received numerous enquiries from members seeking information regarding NCA Pay Reform Proposals.
It has not escaped your attention that NCARRB submissions from both the NCOA and the employer should have been submitted to the review body on the 9th January with oral presentations timetabled for the 8th February. Those dates have now become ‘non effective’ as the organisation has not yet submitted its proposals.
Before Christmas NCOA wrote to the Secretariat of the NCARRB advising that we would need time to consider our final NCOA draft once we had seen the NCA paper. It would be ridiculous for us to submit our paper without seeing one from the organisation, hence the suspension of the timetabling.
Unfortunately, the NCA has retained its embargo and NCOA are unable to report to you any of the discussions or thinking upon which their reform paper is based. NCOA have asked the employer to consider a communication plan to engage with you, its workforce whilst matters progress. They have decided not to, despite strong and repeated requests from the NCOA who remain concerned that the first you will hear of it is when the paper is posted on the NCA website on submission to the NCARRB.
The embargo has placed your union in an extremely difficult position as we cannot explain to you what has happened, what is being considered nor why things are not being considered. It is important to stress however that the NCOA has not been involved in formal consultation re a pay framework proposal or implementation. What we have done is engage with the employer to influence their thought processes and give strong objection where we have felt the direction of travel has been inappropriate.
Consultation will take place on the principles and protection measures if and when the government and subsequently the NCARRB agree that it should take place.
Whilst NCOA cannot report on specifics of the NCA proposals it is important that you understand our position and engagement in the process so far. Much of what we have sought and will continue to seek is well documented in previous submissions to the NCARRB and our position has not altered;
- A pay structure which at least matches Police counterparts.
- Realistic scales where movement from bottom to top was wholly achievable.
- No caps set to 2006 levels which has so far seen hundreds of officers see no meaningful pay movement for the majority of their 10 year SOCA/NCA careers.
- An annual pay review which is not misused to encompass pay progression and a cost of living pay award.
NCOA seek a modern pay structure which reflects the unique role of a Civil service group which delivers a Policing function set to Police standards. We simply cannot be grouped with other Civil Service Departments which is echoed by the NCARRB themselves in their most recent report.
Be in no doubt, the NCA have a monumental task in introducing meaningful pay reform in a period of prolonged austerity which is intended to cap Civil Service pay awards at 1% until 2020!
Many previous attempts by other government departments have failed and those that have been successful offered considerable incentive to the government in ‘give and take’ deals which saw money go up in exchange for ......... something held dear.
The NCOA would be reluctant to give away current working arrangements or perceived ‘benefits’ for anything other than meaningful pay reform benefitting the majority of our members. However, we feel that the NCA plans will not pass muster unless they offer an incentive or what we refer to as the ‘X factor’ to their proposals.
For those who were SOCA employees prior to the NCA, will recall that the government sought a voluntary No strike agreement which would negate the need to invoke the Crime and Courts act which now restricts officers with powers from taking strike action.
A no strike agreement would have also prevented the current divided workforce and a laborious NCARRB process to deal with Powers Pay prior to Non powers pay processes.
The NCOA does not differentiate between those with powers and those without. The current pay review processes in place are as a consequence of NCA staff being unable to sign up to that agreement.
The government were so keen to have this voluntary no strike deal that they offered an additional Annual leave incentive for all officers in the NCA and binding arbitration. Unfortunately the PCS national position would not permit its members within the NCA to sign up to this agreement and the NCOA was born.
NCOA believes that a voluntary no strike deal could potentially provide the ‘x’ factor which influences the government to look favourably on any proposal for meaningful pay reform within the NCA. Therefore, we have insisted that the organisation details it within its reform proposals and makes it clear that this is on the table should the reform be beneficial to our members.
It will be extremely frustrating if this detail is not clear in the organisations submission, when the largest Trade Union representing over half the workforce has asked for it to be included clearly within it. Any omission in our opinion would have a detrimental impact on securing a deal.
It is important to stress that NCOA will not sign away your rights, we are at this stage offering an incentive if it becomes critical to secure meaningful pay reform, reunite our workforce and see the end of annual NCARRB engagement which despite a great deal of effort secures ........ 1%.
The organisation has expressed its intentions to seek a collective agreement to its approved pay reform proposals. This means that ultimately you, as a member of the NCOA will decide through a ballot when the time is right. It is only the Union voice that will count in a collective agreement so it is important that you encourage others to become members of the NCA union with the largest voice the National Crime Officers Association.
Your NEC will report more to you as matters become clearer. Significantly you are urged to support the lifting of the current embargo as soon as possible