Public sector pay policy 2020 to 2021: technical guide

Supports the application of the 2020 to 2021 public sector pay policy and applies to staff in the Scottish Government and its associated departments, agencies, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) and public corporations.

7. Sponsor Team Role and Responsibilities

What is the role of the sponsor team?

7.1 Sponsor teams have a key role to play in promoting Scottish Government's policy on public sector pay in making sure their public body is aware of what is required of them under the policy and they deliver on those requirements.

7.2 The sponsor team provides a crucial link between its public body and the Scottish Government:

  • in making sure staff and members of their public body know what Ministers expect of them.
  • in monitoring whether performance of their public body meets Ministers' policies and priorities and taking action in the event of any shortcomings.
  • in making sure the circumstances and concerns of their public body are understood within the Scottish Government.

7.3 In relation to Public Sector Pay Policy, this means the sponsor team has the responsibility to raise the circumstances and concerns of their public body in communications with the Finance Pay Policy team, the Remuneration Group and Ministers.

What is a sponsor team required to do before a public body submits any pay proposals for approval?

7.4 The sponsor team:

  • should familiarise themselves with Public Sector Pay Policy and what is expected of their sponsor body.
  • must make sure they know when their sponsor body's proposals are due to be submitted.
  • should monitor the progress their public body is making in developing its pay proposals and work with them (if necessary) to make sure they are on target to submit proposals as scheduled.
  • should inform the Finance Pay Policy team at the earliest opportunity if the proposals will not be submitted as scheduled.

What is a sponsor team required to do once their public body submits their pay proposals?

7.5 This stage is usually referred to as the assessment period and the sponsor team:

  • will be copied into all communications by the Finance Pay Policy team and will be invited to attend any meetings.
  • must check the existing and the projected paybill costs and staffing numbers are consistent with the budget allocations and their knowledge of the sponsor body. Any queries should be raised with the public body at the earliest opportunity, copied to the Finance Pay Policy team.
  • must consider the affordability and sustainability of the proposals including any proposed savings - particularly those resulting from staff reductions with their knowledge of the public body and its current and future budget and workload.
  • must seek the views of their Finance Business Partner. The Finance Pay Policy team will forward a copy of their initial assessment to their Finance Business Partner so they are aware of any pay policy issues.
  • should maintain awareness of the progress of the remit, the queries that have been raised and any significant issues with the proposals.
  • the sponsor team should engage Senior Officials as early as possible in the process particularly if there are issues.

7.6 If there are outstanding issues on any proposals after 4 weeks from initial submission, the sponsor team should escalate the proposals to their Senior Officials.

7.7 Once the Finance Pay Policy team sign‑off the proposals and give them a final rating they will forward to the sponsor team for their rating along with the Finance Business Partner (Staff remits). It will then be the sponsor team's responsibility to put the proposals forward for formal approval from Senior Officials or to Remuneration Group or Ministers as appropriate.

What does the sponsor team require to consider when preparing a submission seeking approval to their public body's pay proposals?

7.8 In preparing the submission, the sponsor team should take in to account the following:

  • set out the rationale for the recommendation.
  • where relevant, include detail of any sponsorship issues that the "Approvers" require to be aware of as part of their consideration.
  • include the views of the Finance Pay Policy team and their Finance Business Partner and provide sufficient time for their contributions. The normal expectation would be at least 3 working days.

7.9 If the proposals require to be approved by Remuneration Group or Ministers:

  • Finance Pay Policy team will provide a template for the submission
  • proposals should normally be submitted from the Portfolio Director, where this is not the case the views of the Portfolio Director should be included.
  • the sponsor teams should make sure they meet the Remuneration Group deadlines and provide sufficient time to consult the Finance Pay Policy team on the draft.

Does the sponsor team require to notify Ministers of the approval?

7.10 If the sponsor body's remit proposals have been approved at either Senior Official level or by the Remuneration Group and the proposals are straightforward, it is not necessary to notify the Cabinet Secretary for Finance or Finance Minister of this approval. It is a matter for the sponsor division to decide whether they require to notify their own Cabinet Secretary and/or Portfolio Minister.

What action will be taken if there are unresolved queries at the end of the assessment period?

7.11 If, at the end of the 4 week assessment period, there are still unresolved queries or the staff remit is rated Red, the Finance Pay Policy team will escalate proposals to their Portfolio Director and the Director of Budget and Public Spending.

7.12 If the public body's pay proposals have been rated Red, the pay remit cannot be approved under any circumstances and the public body will be required to bring their proposals in line with policy before it can be put forward for approval.

What is required once the pay proposals have been approved?

7.13 The Finance Pay Policy Team will normally advise the Public Body of the outcome of the assessment of the staff pay remit. The exception to this would be where there are sponsorship issues.

7.14 The sponsor team should notify the appropriate personnel in their public body of all decisions for the Chief Executives and/or Board Members taking account of the sensitivities with handling personal data.

7.15 All public bodies are expected to provide settlement information within 1 month of implementing the staff pay award. Although the Finance Pay Policy team will contact the public body directly if they have not submitted settlement information in line with the policy requirements, it is the sponsor team's responsibility to make sure their public body is aware of the requirement in their approval letter.

7.16 It is also the sponsor team's responsibility to make sure the public body makes progress on any requirements or conditions imposed by Senior Officials, the Remuneration Group or Ministers (for example a review of its pay and grading structure) and to keep the Finance Pay Policy team, the Remuneration Group and Ministers informed as appropriate.



Back to top