Public sector pay policy for staff pay remits 2019-2020: technical guide

Supports the application of the 2019-2020 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.

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2. Introduction

Who is covered by the Pay Policy for staff pay remits?

2.1 This Technical Guide supports the 2019-20 Public Sector Pay Policy and applies to staff in the following public bodies:

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

A full list of public bodies is available at:

2.2 There is a separate Technical Guide which applies to senior appointments. It 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. The relevant documents for senior appointments are available at:

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

2.4 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.

2.5 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.

What are the respective roles and responsibilities in the staff pay remit process?

2.6 The public body

  • The public body is responsible for determining the pay and conditions for its staff that are appropriate for its business needs and which take account of the Scottish Government's Pay Policy and processes. Each public body is expected to submit its pay proposals to the Scottish Government in sufficient time to ensure that they can implement their pay settlement on the date in which it is due (which forthe majority of public bodies is 1 April).

To assist in meeting the above requirement the existing risk-based approach will continue to apply. Each public body will be assigned a rating, based on some key indicators, which will determine the approvals process required (see paragraphs 4.1 to 4.4).

Public bodies are expected to engage in early scoping discussions, with their staff and staff representatives in preparing their pay proposals where appropriate as part of a collaborative and constructive approach to the pay process. Public bodies are encouraged to attend a pay surgery with the Finance Pay Policy team before they formally submit their remit proposals. Where appropriate the relevant Sponsor team will be invited to attend. This will help reduce the time required for getting approval to the negotiating remit.

  • The Chief Executive, as Accountable Officer[1], has the responsibility to provide assurance that pay proposals are in line with pay policy, there are robust performance management systems in place to support any progression payments and any projections for paybill savings are realistic and will be delivered during the 12 months of the pay remit year.

The Chief Executive also has the responsibility to confirm that the outturn for the previous pay year is in line with the approved remit. If the outturn is submitted before the end of pay year the Chief Executive is required to confirm that it is projected to be within the approved remit and, in particular, that the assumptions made in respect of paybill savings to fund the pay award are still valid and achievable.

It is therefore assumed all completed proforma providing this confirmation are submitted either by or on behalf of the Chief Executive or Accountable Officer on this basis.

2.7 Trade Unions

  • Trade unions and/or staff representatives are responsible for participating in early engagement with their public body as part of a collaborative and constructive pay dialogue. However, pay negotiations must not be concluded until the pay remit has been formally approved.

2.8 The Scottish Government

  • The role of the Finance Pay Policy team is to ensure all pay proposals are in line with the Scottish Government's policy on public sector pay. Before a public body formally submits its pay remit, the team can advise on any issues that arise during the scoping discussions between public bodies and their staff representatives; and 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 pay proposals.

  • 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.

When required, the Remuneration Group will consider pay proposals and will decide whether or not proposals need to be referred to Ministers.

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 the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay Policy and the processes. It is their role to advise the Finance Pay Policy team on affordability and of any issues that they need to be aware of that may impact on the rating of the pay 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. The Director for Budget and Sustainability is responsible for approving for Finance Pay Policy interests.
  • The relevant Director General will take on this role in relation to Agencies and the Permanent Secretary for Associated Departments, the Scottish Government's Main Bargaining Unit and the Scottish Government Marine (off‑shore) bargaining unit.
  • The Finance Business Partner[2]. is responsible for providing comment on the affordability of the proposals within agreed budget allocations (taking into account delivery of efficiency savings) and on whether the proposals offer value for money.

2.9 Scottish Ministers

  • If Ministerial approval is required the proposals will need to be approved by the relevant Portfolio Cabinet Secretary or Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

What information is needed?

2.10 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.

2.11 A Glossary of terms can be found at Annex A.

When should a public body send in its remit proposals?

2.12 Each public body should send in its remit proposals in line with the submission date they agreed in advance with the Finance Pay Policy team. If for any reason a public body is unable to meet their agreed submission date it should contact the Finance Pay Policy team ( the earliest opportunity to discuss an alternative date.

2.13 Scottish Ministers have highlighted the importance they place in individuals being paid on or close to their recognised settlement date. To help achieve this, all parties taking forward the pay process should endeavour to adhere to the agreed timescales. While paying employees on their recognised settlement date is important we recognise there is due process to follow in delivering this which can cause unavoidable delay and would ask that public bodies keep the Finance Pay Policy team up-to-date on progress with pay negotiations.

2.14 If a public body submits its proposals after its agreed submission date or is likely to implement its pay award after the recognised settlement date an explanation should be provided. Where appropriate this should include confirmation that staff and their representatives are aware of any delays to the implementation of their pay award.



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