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GMP Federation

The independence of the independent advisory body on police pay is a "fallacy" says GMP Federation

7 December 2021

The independence of the independent body which advises the Government on police officer pay rises is a total fallacy, the Chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation has said.

Lee Broadbent was speaking after Home Secretary Priti Patel contacted the Police Remuneration Review Body this week with their “remit” for advising on a police officer pay rise in 2022/23.

Police officers were given no pay rise in 2021 when the Home Secretary tied the PRRB’s hands under the guise of public sector pay restraint. Either way, whatever the PRRB advises Government, it is up to the Home Secretary to decide what the police officer pay rise award should be.

Lee said: “First off I think we need to address the fallacy that is ‘independence’ when talking about PRRB. A body which has standing terms of reference set by Government cannot truly be free to consider well argued and reasoned evidence of the contributing Staff Associations when asked to deliver on an independent award.

“You only have to scratch away at the surface of this remit letter to see that whilst no pay cap is in place, great emphasis is being placed in the cost/delivery of the uplift programme as a factor in determining another below inflation pay award… the writing for this has been on the wall since the police budget was announced.

“Again scratch away at the surface and you can see that any pay award has already been costed and can’t exceed 2% without forces having to find funding from elsewhere.”

In her letter to the PRRB, The Home Secretary states: “I ask that your recommendations and observations are considered in the context of the Government’s commitment to increase police officer numbers by 20,000 over three years” and “The Government must balance the need to ensure fair pay for public sector workers with protecting funding for frontline services and ensuring affordability for taxpayers’”.

Lee added: “Work is still ongoing with regards to pay reform and the benchmarking of police pay will be a vital part of this. https://www.polfed.org/media/16609/pfew-psa-submission-to-prrb-29-1-2021-v10.pdf#page34 (page 34).

“PFEW research already indicates a substantial gap between police pay and that of other sectors with a deficiency in pay ranging from circa £2,000 at the lower end of the pay scale all the way up to £5,000 behind at the top.

“These findings alone should be evidence enough as to why, with growing inflation, rising living costs, excessive demand and workload along with an inability to take time off with family, police officers across the country deserve a pay rise comparable with the extraordinary commitment to public service they show each and every day.

“I believe our focus should be to concentrate efforts in reaching agreement with the NPCC here so as to drag police officer pay in line with comparable sectors, as opposed to waste time and effort submitting evidence to a body who, whilst wanting to give an independent funding settlement (see last PRRB report) are hamstrung as to their ability to actually do so.”

Both the Police Federation of England and Wales and Superintendents’ Association have backed out the PRRB process following last year’s pay freeze. 

In normal times, the PRRB reports in the summer before the Home Secretary Awards a rise – which usually kicks in on 1 September.

2021’s PRRB report can be seen here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1004932/PRRB_2021_report_-_web_accessible.pdf

The Home Secretary’s ‘remit’ letter to the PRRB for 2022/23 can be seen here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/remit-letter-to-the-police-remuneration-review-body-2022-to-2023/prrb-remit-letter-from-the-home-secretary-2022-to-2023-accessible-version


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