BAND MAXIMA: The top of the pay band should set ‘the rate for the job’. These have been frozen for almost a decade as a result of the Government’s austerity policies, with miserly remits being swallowed by still inadequate progression payments to those below their band maxima. This means members at the band maxima have had no consolidated pay increase for nearly a decade. It also means the value of a probation professional has been undermined for everyone.
This offer gives at least a 3% fully consolidated increase to band maxima, with pensionable but non-consolidated Top Up payments taking the award up to 6% for all members currently at their band maxima.
PROGRESSION: It currently takes up to 23 years to move through the pay ranges. In most bands most staff at or below the mid-point, with a majority potentially earning £1000’s less than a colleague doing exactly the same work, even after more than a decade in the role.
If this offer is accepted all members would expect to reach their band maxima in under 6 years. All staff currently in post can expect to reach their band maxima by 1st April 2023 or sooner. This is up to 11 years quicker than the current system.
COMPETENCY BASED PAY PROGRESSION FRAMEWORK (CBPPF): At present, all staff have a contractual right to progress by 1 step each year, with each step worth around 1%. This has failed to deliver progression to the band maxima or ‘rate for the job’ in anything like a reasonable timescale.
A Competency Based Pay Progression Framework (CBPPF) will replace contractual progression if the award is agreed. This will require the professional standards to be set for each band and where relevant each role (e.g. in Band 2 we’d expect different competencies for AP staff and admin grades working in probation offices). These will then be translated into descriptions of what actions and outputs demonstrate these skills. These will then be ordered so that full competency would be reflected as someone reaches the band maxima or ‘rate for the job’. These definitions will all be defined in partnership with unions.
This model is adapted from the one used successfully in the NHS, where it covers far greater numbers of roles and grades. Our agreement uses language based upon the NHS agreements to protect staff from arbitrary decisions or attempts to minimise progression costs.
CBPPF is very definitely not performance pay. We expect it to gradually replace the demotivating appraisal framework currently in use, which seeks to arbitrarily compare one member against another. Importantly, it will not measure quantity but quality to avoid the CBPPF being used to sustain excessive workload pressures or to cap progression costs.
Importantly, the following elements have also been agreed:
- The expectation is that staff will meet competencies and progress. Only in exceptional circumstances will this not happen.
- A built in appeal is included and any failure to progress must be based on measurable evidence.
- If opportunities to meet progression targets are denied (e.g. mandatory training opportunities are not provided) then people are progressed.
- Staff on long term illness, maternity leave etc are also progressed on assumption they’d have met competencies if these had been available.
Staff on temporary promotion would progress and if they return to their substantive grade return at the point they would have progressed to if they hadn’t been on TP, an improvement to the current position.