Friday, 13 November 2009

MoD Bonuses Must Stop

click to enlarge
Graphic courtesy of the Wardman Wire

Quite a few bloggers have posted on the subject of bonuses for Ministry of Defence Staff. In the first 6 months of this year £47 million was issued to MoD civil servants in bonuses.

LastoftheFew draws out attention to the numbers involved between the services and MoD, while VotR as usual doesn't hold back. Radio Free Britain has a couple of posts - you can read one here.

Today I've been trying to find information on the UK government's website about bonuses for MoD civil servants but I have as yet to find a word. Of course that's not to say something isn't there because my search skills aren't the best although I seem to manage reasonably well on all but government sites.

There was one remark from Alan Johnson on the BBC today which caused me concern.

He added: "Let's be clear - our priority always has to be the soldiers at the front line for equipment, for pay, for conditions."

But he said civil servants also had to go "into the front line" - for instance, to develop techniques to protect troops from improvised bombs.

"When they do that my understanding is they work 17, 18 hours in Afghanistan," he added.

"They don't get overtime for that - they get a bonus to compensate."

Really he ought to know better than make such statements as all they do is add fuel to the fire. Let me explain. Civil servants are involved in developing techniques to protect troops from improvised bombs and other security matters, along with military staff and at times private specialists. That is a fact.

On the occasion of any civil servant doing a 'site visit' to Afghanistan he would be accompanied by military colleague(s) who work closely with him on a day to day basis. They may all work 17 or 18 hours in Afghanistan but Mr Johnson clearly shows the difference in wage structure between the military and MoD civil servants. He says the civil servants get a bonus when deployed to theatres (when of course he's wrong - they receive 'operational allowances') but what do the military personnel get? Nothing. They will be working alongside the civil servant knowing that person will receive a bonus for the work they're both/all doing.

Really puts a damper on his first sentence doesn't it? In fact it proves what he says in a lie.

These bonuses need to be stopped right now. If anyone works extra hours they should be paid overtime. Nobody within the MoD civil servants or any government department should be paid a 'performance' bonus unless they do truly exceptional work.

I can hear the civil service union shouting: 'We have to pay bonuses to stop these extremely intelligent and capable people from leaving to work in the private sector.' Let them go I say. We're spending enough money putting people through university courses to surely have enough intelligent and capable individuals to replace them.

What is required is a thorough overhaul of the Ministry of Defence. They are stuck in a time warp, endearing at times but cumbersome and I would doubt if process systems are any more efficient today than they were 40 years ago. The graph above shows what little change there has been in the department's thinking - chop the TA to pay bonuses. Whatever happened to old fashioned sense and fairness?

It is an insult to the people of this country that the Westminster government are attempting to lie their way out of spending billions on bonuses. Why don't they just tell the truth - by paying bonuses they keep basic salaries lower which helps when planning pension provisions. Then they could say they're really saving us, the taxpayer, money in the long term.

They say most bonuses are less than £1,000 as if that amount is sweetie money. £1000 would pay for the heating and lighting for a pensioner's home for about a year, so it's certainly not a modest sum to me and many others.


Quiet_Man said...

Wouldn't mind a £1000 bonus just for doing my job.

I doubt the pension spin has even occurred to them, though it might have now, you really shouldn't give them ideas.

A cull of government nonjobs is way overdue, though it's strange that ministers all can seem to be able to justify their departments size and spending.

Constantly Furious said...


I posted on this yesterday, and attracted a couple of quite informed and interesting comments, from people who have 'been there'.

I won't reproduce them in full here, but a couple of quotes:

"..they also did a rush job on "Improved" Combat Body Armour with neck and arm protection ... The first sets arrived in Iraq in July of 2005 ... a casualty was treated at the hospital in Shaibah. A roadside bomb had blown a chunk out of his face and mauled an arm... If he'd been wearing the old-pattern issue armour he'd have died. Instead he lived and made a full recovery.


"As a uniformed member of the Armed Forces who has been a line manager for MOD civil servants.., hopefully I can shed a little light on the civil servant bonus structure .. 'bonus' is a misleading term. It is a way of paying the lower grades a workable wage without attracting the associated pension liability...

The full versions are with the blogpost, which is here

Feel free to lift them if you think it adds to the debate.


subrosa said...

No I really shouldn't give them ideas should I QM.

subrosa said...

Ah CF there are some horror stories out there right enough. Sorry I didn't mention your post in my links, I didn't get round to reading everybody's take on it.

I mention in my post about the word bonus being used somewhat incorrectly.

Constantly Furious said...

No apologies necessary - I wasn't trying to get a link from you, SR ;-)

I was just interested to see that I'd got a couple of comments from people who actually knew what was really going on, and thought that those people deserved a wider audience.

subrosa said...

CF you know I'd give you a link anytime. :)

I know about this pay structure business. Perhaps I should have made it clearer in the post but what I was concentrating on was the difference between military pay and civilian ie The military don't get overtime or bonuses.

Of course the lie machine being so easily found out was another point I wanted to make.

They really don't get it do they?

I'm sure my readers will pop over to you and read the comments CF. Indeed, some are well informed.

Dramfineday said...

SR, CF re the "bonus" same thing happened to me in BT. No pay rise but here's a bonus that doesn't count towards the pension.

subrosa said...

Dram surely bonuses paid like that are bordering on a kind of fraud. Is this 'bonus' written into their contract?

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