Public sector pay policy for senior appointments 2019-2020: technical guide

Supports the application of the 2019-2020 public sector pay policy and covers the remuneration of chief executives of Scottish non-departmental public bodies and public corporations, chairs and board members of public bodies in Scotland and NHS Scotland executive and senior management posts.

1. Introduction

What is the Public Sector Pay Policy?

1.1 The Public Sector Pay Policy for 2019‑20 was announced in the draft Budget statement on 12 December 2018 and covers pay settlements in 2019-20. The policy sets the parameters for public sector pay increase for both staff and senior appointments within a wide range of public bodies in Scotland over the period April 2019 to March 2020.

1.2 The policy also acts as benchmark for all major public sector workforce groups across Scotland including NHS Scotland, fire-fighters, police officers, teachers and further education workers. For local government employees, pay and other employment matters are delegated to local authorities.

1.3 The policy is available on the Scottish Government website at:

Who is covered by the Pay Policy?

1.4 This Technical Guide supports the 2019-20 Public Sector Pay Policy and sets out the procedures which must be followed and the approval process for the remuneration proposals relating to:

  • Chief Executives[1] of Non‑Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), Public Corporations and other Scottish public bodies (in respect of any proposed changes to: salary, pay range, non‑consolidated performance payment (bonus) and other non‑salary rewards, etc.)
  • NHS Scotland Executive and Senior Management posts - referred to in this policy as "NHS Executives". This group of staff is covered by way of a collective pay proposal: individual appointments, remuneration and terms and conditions are made in line with the Scottish Government's health policy
  • The daily fees, annual uprates etc. paid to all public appointments (Chairs and Members) to Scottish public bodies; Non‑Executive Directors of the Scottish Government and its Agencies and Associated Departments; Chairs and Board Members of NHS Bodies; appointments to Tribunals, Appeals Boards, Advisory Committees and Inquiries, and short‑life and other ad hoc review or working groups, etc. under the auspices of the Scottish Ministers (in respect of any proposed changes to: daily fee rates; annual uprates and reviews; and any pension arrangements, etc.)

A full list of public bodies is available at:

1.6 There is a separate Technical Guide which applies to staff pay remits. It applies to staff in the following public bodies:

  • The Scottish Government and its Associated Departments
  • Agencies
  • Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs)
  • Public Corporations

The relevant documents for staff pay remits are available at:

1.7 The remuneration of Senior Civil Servants is a reserved matter and operates within the UK Cabinet Office pay and performance management framework.

1.8 The information in these Technical Guides is for employers in the above public bodies, although their trade unions and employees may also find it of interest

Who is involved in the approval process?

1.9 The public body

Chair / Board (of public body) – where relevant

  • Must comply with the Public Sector Pay Policy
  • Must ensure the public body's Remuneration Committee (where applicable) is aware of and complies with the Pay Policy
  • When necessary, must develop remuneration proposals for their Chief Executive on any new or reviewed remuneration package (salary, pay range, progression, non-salary rewards, etc.) which comply with the Public Sector Pay Policy and ensure Scottish Government approval is obtained prior to advertising, agreeing or implementing such proposals
  • Submits proposals for Scottish Government approval to the Finance Pay Policy team, copied to the relevant Sponsor Team

1.10 The Scottish Government

  • The role of the Finance Pay Policy team is to ensure all senior appointments are in line with the Scottish Government's policy on public sector pay. Before a public body makes an appointment, the team can advise on any issues that arise during the development of a remuneration proposal and can help in making sure the proforma and business case include all of the necessary information.

The Finance Pay Policy team provides the main interface between public bodies and Remuneration Group. It is their role to advise senior officials, Remuneration Group and Ministers on all remuneration proposals for senior appointments.

  • The Remuneration Group is chaired by a Non-Executive Director of the Scottish Government. The Group meets regularly throughout the year and its remit includes making sure a consistent approach is taken to approval of pay remits for both staff and senior appointments.

The Remuneration Group considers and approves any significant new or reviewed remuneration proposals for Chief Executives, Chairs and Members. If Ministerial approval is required the proposals will need to be approved by the relevant Portfolio Cabinet Secretary or Minister and the Deputy First Minister.

Full details of current membership of the Remuneration Group, meeting dates and the deadlines for papers are set out on the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay webpages, available at:

  • The Sponsor Teams of NDPBs and Public Corporations are responsible for making sure their public bodies are aware of, and comply with, the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay Policy and the processes. It is their role, along with the Finance Pay Policy team, to consider the remuneration proposals. If a new Chair is appointed to a public body, the Sponsor Team should inform them of and provide them with the latest copy of the Pay Policy and Technical Guide. In conjunction with the relevant Finance Business Partner, Sponsor Teams are responsible for considering and confirming the affordability and sustainability of all remuneration proposals and seeking formal approval for the proposals.
  • Senior officials (Director / Director General / Permanent Secretary). For NDPBs and Public Corporations, the Director of the relevant sponsoring Directorate is responsible for ensuring good governance within public bodies in respect of the Public Sector Pay Policy and the processes and where appropriate approving proposals or referring them to Remuneration Group.
  • The Finance Business Partner[2] is responsible for providing comment on the affordability and sustainability of remuneration proposals.

1.11 Scottish Ministers

  • Relevant Portfolio Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work jointly consider and make decisions on remuneration proposals for Chief Executives referred to them by the Remuneration Group. If Ministerial approval is required, submissions must be sent to the relevant portfolio Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

What information is needed?

1.12 This Technical Guide explains the terms used in the policy and provides advice on application of the policy. Public bodies will also be issued with the relevant templates and guidance which set out the information they are required to provide to enable them to seek approval for their proposals.

If proposals are simply the annual uplift in line with pay policy, then the relevant template for Chief Executives or Chairs and Members is all that is required to be submitted.

If, however, proposals entail a change in remuneration (for example, following a review) or remuneration relating to a new appointment, then they should include a business case from the public body and will require approval by senior officials (if wholly in line with Pay Policy) or the Remuneration Group in line with the respective process outlined in Sections 4 and 6.

1.13 A Glossary of terms can be found at Section 7.

When should proposals be submitted for approval?

1.14 Any proposals should be submitted in line with staff pay remits settlement dates where applicable, and in advance of or within the financial year to which they relate. For new appointments, proposals should be submitted prior to any advertisement. Sufficient time for approval should be allowed.

1.15 Proposals for approval should be submitted initially to the Finance Pay Policy team and, where relevant, copied to the appropriate Sponsor Team. The Finance Pay Policy team is happy to provide advice and assistance and will provide feedback on proposals once submitted for approval. They can also help in making sure any supporting business case includes all of the necessary information prior to submitting proposals.



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