Council pay at risk

30 November 2006
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30 November 2006 | Antony Barton

Salaries for procurement officers in local authorities could be slashed in a bid to balance pay rates across organisations. And this looks likely to create huge uncertainty.

Some councils are in the middle of a Job Evaluation process, whereby a panel assesses each employee's job. The panel then determines whether the employee should receive a pay increase or decrease.

A local authority procurement officer in the north of England wrote to SM describing how the evaluation for his organisation proposes a deduction of up to £4,500 per procurement officer and £6,000 for those in senior roles.

A member of Staffordshire County Council, which completed its evaluation this month, said staff have until the middle of January to comment on the proposed changes, at which point the cabinet would vote on implementing the new wage scheme.

Trade unions Unison, T&G and GMB have asked Staffordshire County Council to apologise in writing to all staff for consulting on a pay model that had not been agreed by the unions. They have also asked for full disclosure of the methodology of financial calculations.

David Pointon, chairman of the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government, told SM: "To cut salaries at a time when we're looking for greater contributions seems to be counterproductive."

Joanne Nicholson, procurement policy consultant for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, which faces a procurement improvement review in the next year, told SM: "If there are wage cuts across the board, what's left to keep people from moving to the private sector?"

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