NPS Pay talks to resume soon

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Welcome news reached us this week during the NPS Joint National Committee, that discussions on Pay are to resume in the near future. Dialogue between HMPPS and the Treasury has taken place to discuss the pay remit and we expect to receive a formal invitation to meet with the NPS Pay and Reward team soon.

The delay in the payment of pay progression due in April and the failure by the employer to properly resource the competency based framework project (see below) has been a considerable source of anger for our members.

What’s been going on?

The pay year in the NPS runs from April to March in line with the financial year. The 2018 pay deal agreed by members, was for two years, 2018/19 and 2019/20 so members received payment for the second year of this in April 2019.
The pay deal included the commitment to developing a competency based framework (CBF) for pay progression to use from 2020/21 onwards. Our position has always been that the scheme needed to be agreed in time for it to be in place for a full 12 months before it was used to determine progression. So to determine progression in April 2020 it needed to have been in place by the end of March 2019.  When it was clear that this would not happen we secured a further agreement from the employer that progression in April 2020 for the year 2020/21 would be automatic. When it then became clear that the CBF scheme would not be in place by March 2020 we secured a further agreement for automatic progression for 2021/22. These agreements stand.
 In March this year, the employer explained to us that because the pay progression due in April 2020 had not been agreed by HM Treasury they would not be able to pay it on time and would have to wait until they were authorised to enter talks with the trades unions on any pay award for 2020/21.
All Government departments have to go through proper process in terms of pay. First they get the 'advice' from HM Treasury which is based on Government directives about public sector pay. This usually comes in the early part of the year. Then the departments submit a proposal to HM Treasury and then they begin negotiations with the Unions. Once we, as a union, get to a point where we have achieved as much as we feel possible by negotiations we put the offer to members in a ballot. If the offer is agreed the pay award is made. This negotiation is a completely separate process to pay progression.
Next steps

This year the process has been delayed because there was a General Election in December 2019 which meant that HM Treasury were later than usual in issuing their advice. We know that the advice has been issued to the employers in the last few weeks so we expect to start negotiations on the pay award very soon. The Trade Unions in any case submitted our pay claim in March 2020 so that the employers were aware of our position. You can see the claim on our website here which also neatly summarises the position in relation to pay progression. This pay claim was developed in consultation and approved by Napo's Probation Negotiating Committee (PNC) who report to every NEC meeting which means that the reps on PNC and NEC will have been involved in the conversations about it. The pay claim was, as is customary, sent out to members and placed on the website for reference.
 We have written to members in mailouts at the end of 2019 and in March and May 2020 to update you on the pay position which essentially is that the progression through pay scales will be automatic for 2020/21 and 2021/22 but that for this year progression will not be paid until the pay award negotiations have been settled. Once we resume pay negotiations we will let members know and will report progress, initially this will be in confidence to the Napo PNC. Once we have negotiated as much of our as possible, the offer will be put to members.