The desperate need for independence in the PRRB process
8 March 2023
In 2021 we withdrew from the police pay remuneration review body (PRRB), this action was taken as a response to the public sector pay freeze at the time and the lack of independence the PRRB process is afforded by the Government, who both influence the remit of the review parameters and have dominion with no recourse over accepting or rejecting the findings. This year we have decided again not make a submission to the PRRB and would like to take this opportunity to publicly explain why we are unable to support a return to the PRRB process as it currently stands.
- PFEW recognise that the independence of the PRRB is severely restricted by the pay review mechanism that is ultimately controlled by the Home Office. We feel it is inappropriate that the Home Secretary sets the scope of the annual pay review through the remit letter, and also retains ultimate authority in whether to accept any of the PRRB’s recommendations with no recourse.
- Further, the Home Secretary’s decision to accept the recommendations is based on instruction from the Treasury and as such, the process is again influenced by other external decision makers, questioning the independence of the Home Secretary to make the right decisions and the fairness of those decisions.
- Research has demonstrated a substantial degradation of police pay over the last decade and the recent Home Office suggestion of a 3.5% affordable increase against the rising cost of living is further evidence to the continued and wilful degradation to police pay, devaluing the unique and difficult work of police officers.
- PFEW strongly feel that the PRRB could have prevented the increasing gap between the degradation of police pay in comparison to the pay of other public sector/protected services/front line emergency service workers, who are continually offered substantially better pay awards than police officers if the process was, in fact, independent.
- We recognise police officers do not have access to industrial rights due to the importance of their role. The Government’s actions over the last decade are indicative of the fact that they do not understand or value the dangers, restrictions, and risks police officers face. Nor does it compensate them for these risks and the limitations placed on them.
Ultimately, the Government are continually failing to understand that their policies on policing are putting members of the public at risk; the public that police officers are there to protect.
In a continued demonstration of our good faith and willingness to engage we have written to the PRRB Chair to explain our position and have requested engagement with them to resolve these issues in the interest of our membership. For over a decade our members have had to accept unfair pay offers controlled and managed by the Home Office and this is unacceptable.
The creation of a truly independent pay review body mechanism is the starting point for negotiations and we encourage both the PRRB and the Government to work with us to deliver this for police officers across England and Wales.
Government inaction on this matter undermines the trust of our members. A fair and fully independent solution must be created to ensure police officers can trust in the process to achieve fair pay.
You can read our full letter to the Chair of the PRRB here.