Superannuation Bill

Memorandum submitted by the Northwest Development Agency (SU 29)

Summary

1) This submission details the Northwest Development Agency’s views on the Superannuation Bill and the changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

2) As a Non Departmental Public Body, the NWDA’s staff are subject to the Bill with the majority to be directly affected as a result of the abolition of RDA’s.

General Comments on the Superannuation Bill

3) Most Civil Servants and NDPB staff recognise the need for reform of current expensive Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) arrangements.  However, Civil Servants would welcome the opportunity to be consulted on the proposals in advance of implementation

4) The Government is changing the CSCS at a time when there will be massive cuts in the public sector and huge job losses. Many of these job losses will necessarily be through redundancy, offered during the lifetime of the Superannuation Bill (12 months).

5) The High Court have passed judgement and quashed the proposed changes to the CSCS. To address the quashing order, the Government are now changing the law to drive through the changes

6) The Cabinet Office has not managed consultation and negotiation with employers in order that effective communication can be passed to our employees. Communication has been last minute, contradictory and unclear, and in some circumstances non-existent causing unnecessary stress and demotivation amongst staff.

7) The changes to the CSCS will not manage talent as many will leave and never return to the public sector. There is a wealth of specialist knowledge and expertise within the public sector that will be lost.

8) The existing CSCS terms rewarded loyalty in the public sector and are recognised as being part of the employment proposal – even used as a benefit in total reward and attraction strategies. The proposed changes to the terms will make the public sector less attractive as an employer and result in a higher turnover of staff. This will make long term recruitment and retention more difficult and expensive.

9) The Government has stated, on numerous occasions, the desire to protect low paid employees. However, the compensation terms in the Superannuation Bill are universal and therefore do not address the effect on the low paid.

RDA-Specific Comments on the Superannuation Bill

10) RDAs are being abolished and closed; therefore the effect on our staff will be felt more keenly. 

11) There are less opportunities for transfer or redeployment for employees due to the organisation being abolished rather than downsized, therefore the effects of redundancy on RDA staff are going to be more keenly felt.

12) The compensation that staff in the public sector are going to receive has already been adversely impacted through public sector pay freezes so this is a double hit.

13) Long term career decisions of public sector staff have been based upon known compensation arrangements. The changes to the compensation scheme are therefore penalising the long and loyal service of employees

14) Long term personal financial decisions have been made based upon known and arguably contractual compensation arrangements.  They have been the basis for mortgage applications, savings decisions and spending decisions, which are now undermined. The knock-on effects of a change in the compensation scheme will be considerable for those employees and their families directly affected, but will also impact on wider society.

September 2010