Dr Martin Read

Government to review pay for managers in NHS “arm’s length” bodies

Thu 20 Jul 2017

The government has agreed to a 1% pay award for senior managers working in arm’s length bodies (ALBs) of the Department of Health, after ministers accepted the recommendations of the 2017 report from the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB). Ministers also agreed to review the remit of the review body, in a move that could see its jurisdiction extended to very senior managers across the whole NHS.

The SSRB, chaired by Dr Martin Read (pictured), reports annually on the pay of around 360 executive and senior managers (ESMs) working for ALBs – such as NHS England, Monitor, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England – but does not cover senior managers working for NHS trusts or CCGs.

The key points of the 2017 report are:

  • The full 1% available for pay awards under the government’s public sector pay policy should be used for pay awards to ESMs, with employers mandated by the DH to use the budget in full. 
  • Pay awards should be used to address "recruitment, retention, motivation and service delivery issues, staff performance and current position on the pay scale” as well as tackle gender disparities and those between different groups of staff with similar responsibilities. How the available 1% is divided between ESMs should depend on the priorities of each ALB.
  • The whole budget for performance bonuses should be used to make non-consolidated awards to the top 25% of performers. The review body criticised the under-spending of the performance bonus budget in the past.
  • The government should carry out a thorough review the way pay is determined for ESMs before the SSRB’s next report. The review body recommends either widening the remit group to include all very senior managers in the NHS, or delegating responsibility for ESM pay to individual employers. 
  • The review body explicitly recommends that the DH should consult with Managers in Partnership about the review and whether widen the remit group.

MiP chief executive Jon Restell welcomed the SSRB’s report. “We’re pleased that the review body has agreed with MiP’s recommendations on awarding the full 1% for basic increases, using the full bonus pot and deciding on the scope of the remit,” he said.

He added: “We’re opposed to the public sector pay cap of 1%, but there was a real discussion that whether even that derisory increase should be recommended. So our arguments about an award to motivate ESMs were important. 

“Our members were clear in our surveys that they wanted to see all available pay funds used including the bonus pot. So we welcome the recommendation that ALBs use the bonus pot or explain why not.”

Restell said MiP was looking forward to talks with the DH about the remit of the SSRB within the NHS. “We have argued over many years that there should be a consistent approach and framework to very senior managers across the NHS,” he added.


Join MiP

As specialists in healthcare management we provide expert employment advice and representation and fast access to legal services to make sure you are treated fairly. You also receive our quarterly magazine and have access to leadership networks.

Reasons to JOIN MiP >

FDA Portfolio

MiP members get all the benefits provided by our sister unions. FDA has launched a portfolio of benefits offering a range of discounts, legal support and financial advice. Click through from the MiP members' area for details.

Employment rights

We provide a range of advice and information for healthcare managers on issues that affect your employment. We produce factsheets and briefings to keep you informed about your rights and opportunities.

Find out more >