Public Administration CommitteeSupplementary written evidence submitted by the Cabinet Office (CSR 35)

Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) Inquiry into Civil Service Reform and Public procurement—responses to questions from PASC at the evidence session on 13 May 2013.

Further to the recent PASC hearing, I undertook to provide more information in a number of areas that were raised in the session.

Response to Q602 on Pivotal Role Allowance

Incentives and expectations need to be aligned so that there is greater accountability for outcomes and so individuals, especially in business critical roles, see projects through to completion. In the past there has been a strong sense that they need to get promoted and thus leave the role to get a salary increase. This is a key action in the Civil Service Reform Plan. A Pivotal Role Allowance has been introduced this year to ensure departments can recruit and retain people in their most critical roles. The payment of the allowance will be controlled by the Cabinet Office.

Eligibility criteria

Any proposal to pay the allowance must meet four qualifying criteria:

Where the role is critical to delivering the strategic goals of the organisation.

Where there is potential to make a disproportionately large impact on the business if left unfilled.

Where the role requires specific skills that are not easily available in the Civil Service.

Where there is a recruitment and retention problem.

All SCS Pay Bands (existing staff and new joiners) are eligible provided the role meets the qualification criteria, but the allowance will be aimed predominantly at Senior Responsible Owners.


All proposals to use the allowance must be submitted to the Cabinet Office with a supporting business case, alongside input from the Major Projects Authority as required.

All cases require sign-off from the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

While not prescriptive, the expectation is that approximately 100 pivotal roles will be approved across the Civil Service. Each case will be considered on its merits.

There is no limit on the size of individual payments but full justification must be provided including market evidence.

Overall spend is restricted to a maximum of 0.5% of the SCS paybill.

Allowance features

The allowance is non-consolidated and non-pensionable.

There is departmental discretion to determine the method of payment for successful implementation of project (eg in full at end of project or in instalments linked to achievement of key milestones).

The allowance relates to the role not an individual. Departments must ensure that the allowance is removable when role ceases to be pivotal to the organisation. This must be made clear to recipients.


Cabinet Office will provide quarterly management information on its usage to the Chief Secretary (CST), the Minister for the Cabinet Office (MCO) and the Civil Service Board.

Departments must review the allowances every six months.

Response to Q602 Promotion in Post

Regarding the specific issue of promotion in post, there are two means by which this can currently happen:

fixed term or temporary promotion. This is a promotion for a fixed period of time, for example the remaining duration of a programme. The temporary nature of the promotion links it directly to the post, providing an incentive to stay; and

Permanent Secretaries can, at their discretion, permanently promote in post, if there are exceptional business reasons. This is very rarely used.

In both cases the promotion must be justified by the weight of the role and suitability and competence of the individual for the higher grade. Where the level of promotion is to Director General or above the Civil Service Commissioners must be consulted.

Prepared 5th September 2013