Well this week has really been interesting! I decided to “go for it” in responding to some comments published in Personnel Today (PT) last week about my views on not freezing public sector pay and challenging my own remuneration package.
The published piece wasn’t quite the nuclear option I originally drafted and deleted, but I think anyone reading my opinion piece would get the point. Locally this attracted some press interest because I chose to publish my salary. Which brings me to a point – why should actual public sector pay be hidden behind a fog of FOI exemptions and pay bands? It shouldn’t.
We all pay taxes and the public should expect openness from their public servants about their pay. However, openness about pay levels doesn’t justify uninformed criticism – pay has to be set in the context of the role concerned. Additionally, if people think that some public servants are paid too highly, then I respect the fact that they have an opinion. However, people also need to respect the fact that if public sector pay is frozen and higher earners have their pay regulated by Whitehall (I refer you to John Healey’s recent comments), then public services will once again become less able to draw in talented people and retain them at all levels. Time for a healthy debate with the public, politicians and others I think.
We’ll see what the reaction is in PT next week. Thanks for the messages from far and wide I’ve already received in support of my opinion piece. I’m sorry if some PPMA members think I’ve been too controversial, but being in a leadership role occasionally means putting yourself up to be shot at…and I made that choice consciously. PPMA has to, in my view, say things sometimes that others can’t and won’t. Public sector bashing is THE story in the media and I, for one, won’t sit quietly and be bludgeoned to death.
On other PPMA matters, I had the pleasure of representing us at the Association of County Chief Executives last night and in another guise as their Honorary Secretary for the day, standing in for my boss. It was very useful to be in this august company and to be part of discussions about issues of the day, include Lord Laming’s Report and all things CAA.
To prove that there is life outside work, I’m now heading off for a long weekend, in advance of my final PPMA Policy Board meeting as President next Friday.