MoD staff to share £41m in bonuses months after critical rep

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
Civil servants at the Ministry of Defence are to share more than £41.3m in "appraisal-related annual bonus payments" less than four months after they were criticised by a Commons watchdog committee for allowing procurement costs to overrun by £2.6bn.

A group of 186 senior staff are to receive an average of more than £7000 each on top of their salaries. By contrast, an infantry private fighting on Afghanistan's front line is paid just £15,600 a year.

In addition, 13 special "fixed term appointees" to the MoD are in line to pocket £22,000 apiece from the public purse and another four are still negotiating their bonus terms. A further 52,000 junior civil servants are to receive an average of £761 a head.

The figures for MoD bonus payments were revealed by Derek Twigg, Under-Secretary of State for Defence, in a parliamentary written answer.

In September, a damning Commons Defence Select Committee report revealed that the MoD's 20 biggest projects were £2.6bn over budget and a total of 36 years behind schedule.

It also said MoD staff were "not held to account for a project's failure" and accused the ministry of massaging figures after it was claimed that it had shuffled money between individual project accounts to make it appear that £448m had been trimmed from overall costs.

Defending the bonus system, a Whitehall spokesman said: "The MoD simply has to compete with the private sector if we are to secure the best civilian staff.

"The department had about 90,000 staff, of whom only roughly 2000 are based in London. The bonuses do not amount to a lot per person. Bonuses are given to reward excellent performance and achievement.

"Those who have delivered the best results, and shown real leadership in doing so, receive the biggest bonuses. Those who have delivered least receive nothing."

Junior soldiers who have to spend six months in Afghanistan or Iraq are entitled since last spring to a £2300 "operational allowance" at the end of tours.

A total of 89 service personnel were killed on operations in 2007. The death toll for both deployments since 2001 now stands at 260.
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/new...m_in_bonuses_months_after_critical_report.php

I suppose rewarding failure happens in all departments so why should the MOD be any different :roll:
 
#2
Does the Secretary of State get a bonus award for doing his work in half the time?
 
#3
Ah, the MoD bonus system, i can't speak for the £7000 bonuses as i'll bet they're for the senior civil service guys but our bonus system is a load of crap. The reason we now get this 'average £761' is because we no longer get the box markings that meant we could get a better payrise, so in return we get a non pensionable lump sum thats taxed and doesn't go into the following years payrise.

As for the projects that are overrunning, these are usually the bigger projects that are being chopped and changed monthly, we then have to go back to the contractor and ask for the modifications and add ons and get hit for six when the bill comes in for these. Those getting the £7000 bonus are the ones who sign off on projects and also sign up to them, a lot of them are from industry and are only seconded to the MoD, and we then wonder why we give money to companies like BAE when we have seconded a dozen of their guys!
 
#4
Is anyone suprised, although i think that we need to remember that the civil serpents who are getting these incredible bonuses will not be what i suppose you can call the 'front-line' guys, by that i mean the people that we in units work with regularly. They are paid just as shite, if not worse than us and its not fair to pin any of this on them.

On the other hand, the fat cat civil serpents in main building need shooting, why should they get performance related bonuses when the MoD is in the sorry state its in. I dont want to go into the normal moans here but i feel i have to, how many sets of osprey body armour could one of those bonuses pay for, how many repairs to shoddy quarters and barrack blocks could it pay for, i could go on.

It really is bloody stupid.
 
#5
I am fully in sp of performance related pay especially one that properly rewards the lower level grades, who actually struggle to deliver output despite the best efforts of systemic executive failure. The problem with the current system, however, is that it is linked purely to individual output and totally ignores organisational performance. To accept a system where there is institutionalised and systemic performance failure within MoD, that still results in the payment of a bonus, is totally unacceptable.

In addition, the argument about being unable to attract the right quality of staff unless bonuses are paid is flawed. People work for the MoD for a number of reasons, not just pay, and the benefits of an index-linked pension, generous leave package, first-class trg opportunity and an exceptional range of working patterns should not be underestimated.

It should be a combination of the two. If MoD delivers its planned outputs to cost, time and performance (or exceeds the required standard) then bonuses to individuals should be paid accordingly. If it does not then no bonus whatsoever should accrue.
 
#6
As I understand the system, Agree 2007 is correct. The bonus system was introduced after many years of below average pay rises (and below average to someone on £13k, as any private will tell you, is SFA). The bonus is not consolidated (pensionable) and so each year the rise in "real" terms reduces. In the long run, this saves the Government a fortune in pension payments.

Much is said of civvies' index linked pensions but they don't half pay for it throughout their career. There is a long standing formula which withholds a % of the recommended "cost of living" pay rise each year because of the perceived benefit of the pension scheme. I remember ructions when this was conveniently ignored when the contributions were raised about 5 years ago when the scheme was revamped.

To be fair, I think they're stiffed just as much as Servicemen. And the bit about projects being delivered late/over cost is a red herring. A small fraction of those receiving bonuses work on these projects and even fewer have any real authority over them. In fact, these very few are the ones getting the big bonuses. That's where the fingers should be pointing.
 
#7
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
It should be a combination of the two. If MoD delivers its planned outputs to published cost, time and performance (or exceeds the required standard) then bonuses to individuals should be paid accordingly. If it does not then no bonus whatsoever should accrue.
PAW,

There' s just one word missing from your post ;)

msr
 
#8
The thing with bonuses and targets is this

Those that stand to gain the greatest are those that generally set the targets.

So the senior staff say, ok, I want a bonus this year lets set some Key Performance Indicators that we know we can achieve, not all of them as that might look a bit sus, lets say 85% of them.

Happy Days

So to achieve them, wooden dollars are shuffled between projects, budgets are massaged and the really corrosive practice of claiming that projects are under budget (KPI tick please) by either a)lreducing quantity or b)reducing capability is developed into a fine art.

For some really depressing reading have a look at the variables on projects as quoted in National Audit Office Major Projects reports. We have saved money by penny pinching, creative accounting, correcting massively over inflated estimates and other generally shady practices.

Hey arern't we ace at this procurement game, look at the money we have saved.

Kerching
 
#9
The MoD are struggling to get staff in, we're all moving to Abbey Wood soon and a lot of experience is being lost through early retirements, resignations and people moving elsewhere, there is no way that this won't affect the entire way the MoD operate, god knows how they're going to sort that out to try and keep output the same.

As for the bonus itself, well its just a case of writing a little paragraph about what you've done in the last year that you think deserves a bonus, i know a lot of folk who put in utter rubbish and get it signed off by their line manager and then get a bonus, so its not exactly a truthful approach giving the bonus to those who deserve it.
 
#10
If you were to read (and I really don't reccomend that you do) the in house MOD journals and staff bulletin board, you'd find massive internal opposition to the bonus. The sole reason for its introduction was to reduce the overall wages bill to the treasury, who back in 2001 offered a 3 year pay deal which represented a good pay rise for the most junior grades, who until that point had been very badly paid indeed. The deal was that we took on the bonus system.

The bonus is non pensionable and is designed to reduce the long term bill to the treasury. Staff hate it, there is no clear way in which it is awarded - the system lacks a robust audit mechanism and its merely served to lower staff morale. The problem is that the rules required 50% of staff in each grade in each location (known as clusters) to get one, but the award was dependent on the individuals PADR (OJAR equiv). Get a line manager who doesn't get the process and no matter how good your effort, your chances are screwed. A lot of good people have walked away over this issue.

I believe that there should be some scope for a bonus scheme in the forces and MOD, to reward truly exceptional performance - the US has a system whereby you can get $20k, but only 0.01% of staff are ever in the running for it. By setting such an arbritary target, you reduce it to a lottery.
 
#11
"On the other hand, the fat cat civil serpents in main building need shooting, "

Sorry Tramp but what fat cat civil servants in MB? If you think that MB is staffed exclusively of overpaid sir humphreys working out ways to screw over squaddies, then you're sadly mistaken. The vast majority of MB staff are pretty junior types and dislike the system as much as you. The fact that half the population of MB is forces is often conveniently forgotten here.
 
#12
I reckon Civil Servants are so badly remunerated that they all deserve any form of bonus. But bonuses (and our operational bonuses) are not pensionable so are cheap forms of headline grabbing by the politicians, whichever way they want the land to lie.

Isn't it funny how popular bonuses for Government employees are to our elected Lords and Masters but everything they receive is always pensionable?

The MOD bonus scheme is awful, IMHO, and causes a lot of problems with staff morale.

Litotes
 
#13
Why is it that everyone seems to accept that civil servants get poor pay compared to the mythical private sector.

Sorry, but this is total nonsence

Some do of course, some don't though, you cannot make sweeping generalisations like that.

It also seems to be the default setting that people think all public sector employees are overworked and underpaid and in general are beyond criticism because they 'serve' the public.

If a politician went on the record saying that in the civil service, NHS, police, local authority etc that there was a significant proportion who are incomptetent they would be publically flogged.

The reality is the civil service has a wide range of employees whose comptetence, dedication and general worth, reflected in ther pay, varies person by person just like in any organisation.

Just look at public versus rivate sector sickness absenteesim for a view of the reality and don't make me laugh by saying the reason is public sector employees are stressed more.

The main problem with public sector pay is 'scales', individuals should be paid whatever they are worth and recruited in an open market that allows pay scales to vary depending on the organisations requirements.
 
#14
"Why is it that everyone seems to accept that civil servants get poor pay compared to the mythical private sector."

Fair points Meridian, but its accepted that over half the MOD earn under £20k pa. I know that junior people in the army get paid less on appointment, but a lot of E Grades, many of whom stay in this band for 10 - 15 years because of the difficulty in achieving cross grade promotions (a huge issue in itself now based on how the system works) now will after this time be earning 20k pa tops. Of course they can move, of course they can change jobs etc, but how are you supposed to retain a decent motivated workforce when you pay peanuts? By contrast, how much would a private or lance jack with 15 years seniority be earning?


As for pay scales - they do vary - the MOD has a pay scale from 1 - 60ish, and appointments within bands reflect prior experience and so on. There is some leniency, but often budget issues prevent payment of a decent salary.
 
#15
The MoD talking head patently has no use for logic, just how does this;

In September, a damning Commons Defence Select Committee report revealed that the MoD's 20 biggest projects were £2.6bn over budget and a total of 36 years behind schedule.

square with this;

Defending the bonus system, a Whitehall spokesman said: "The MoD simply has to compete with the private sector if we are to secure the best civilian staff.
Please, let me expain, oh Whitehall dunderhead...


No suprise to see the arch-apologist appear in this thread eh?
 
#16
Once again PE4 you show yourself to be a bit of a chump. I'm guessing your read the first post, hit reply and didn't bother to read the rest.
Had you done so, you would have seen a lot of people, myself included point out that the bonus system was foisted on MOD by the treasury, that MOD staff hate it and that the poor pay anyway makes it hard to attract first rate people.
I'm not an apologist for MOD - I just try to put across a balanced argument to show the other side of the story.
 
#17
jim30 said:
Once again PE4 you show yourself to be a bit of a chump. I'm guessing your read the first post, hit reply and didn't bother to read the rest.
Had you done so, you would have seen a lot of people, myself included point out that the bonus system was foisted on MOD by the treasury, that MOD staff hate it and that the poor pay anyway makes it hard to attract first rate people.
I'm not an apologist for MOD - I just try to put across a balanced argument to show the other side of the story.
Well Jimmyboy, I've been watching the MoD consistently fcuk things up since the early seventies. Wasted time, money & rescources.
I did indeed read the thread including your usual 'balanced' excuses, appologies and witterings.
Just to be clear, my quotes from the OP were aimed at that article.

The last line reference to the 'MoD apologist' just seems to be accurate. And a first round, on time on budget hit. (1)
You quite rightly assumed I was refering to your chump-like self.

(1)Unlike just about everything else that emanates from Puzzle Palace.

Y'all take care now, hear.
 
#18
Jim, you state that over half the MoD earn less than £20k, given that the UK average is £22k I don't think that really justifies saying MoD staff are underpaid. It just means that the other 50% are above £20k.

I don't think that staff at the MoD sit around all days thinking of ways to feck things up and you are dead right in saying that a large proportion of MoD staff are in fact uniformed.

On reflection, I think having uniformed staff at the MoD is part of the problem. Uniformed staff should really be for the fighty stuff, civilians for the office stuff. I know this is a sweeping generalisation but in principle I think uniformed staff should be kept to an absolute minimum
 
#19
"On reflection, I think having uniformed staff at the MoD is part of the problem. Uniformed staff should really be for the fighty stuff, civilians for the office stuff. I know this is a sweeping generalisation but in principle I think uniformed staff should be kept to an absolute minimum "

I'm afraid I totally disagree there. If you reduce the number of forces personnel in MB and other offices, then it becomes much more difficult to ensure that things get done. You remove the link from the front line to the desk and make it harder for staff to understand the urgency of a situation, and to bring their experience into resolving it. Uniformed officers bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to posts that CS will never have due to the very different career structure. Delink the 2 and you risk MOD making decisions which could be harmful and which weren't stopped due to the lack of forces personnel to point out flaws in the arguments.
 
#20
Agree to disagree then!

Actually, I was thinking more of the procurement process rather than many of the other management functions. The uniform element, with support from civilians, should create a very clear and explicit statement of requirements. Then they should back off until a short list is ready to test, decide on the winner and then back off again.

In short, uniform should be involved with requirements and selection but nothing else.

I am only suggesting a change because the reality is, the current system does not work properly. Its very very simple. If it works keep it, if it does not change it.

I am not suggesting I have all the answers but I have seen or read very little about how the procurement system can be changed for the better.

As for bonuses, they do work but only if implemented correctly and not seen as just a top up to a salary. It is here that the MoD is fundamentally flawed because the way it is set up now is that everyone assumes 1) the deserve one and 2) they will get one
 

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