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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The wrong trousers

The Welsh Conservatives returned to form yesterday blaming the Welsh Assembly Government for a 154% increase in the bonuses paid to top civil servants over the last five years, even though it is not a devolved matter and despite the fact that the bonus system was introduced by a Tory Government in 1996.

It may well be of course that these particular bonuses are difficult to defend given the state of Welsh public services in comparison to England however for some reason the Tories failed to draw the obvious conclusion. If we want the salaries of Welsh civil servants to reflect local performance then we need to have our own independent civil service.

In many ways this over-concentration on the remuneration of public officials and the cost of pot plants and plastic bags can be quite cathartic, on the other hand those who are really accountable are Welsh Ministers. Perhaps there should be an independent body assessing their performance and determining their rate of pay accordingly.
The real issue is why are public servants paid a bonus at all.A bonus culture in the private sector is often linked to increased sales or profitabilty. At the same time,however, as thsoe working in the house building industry have recently experienced there is the down side of possible redundancy when the going gets tough. Public servants on the other hand have the added security of probably a job for life with a pension that most people can only dream of at the end of it. The argument that a bonuses or leased cars have to be paid for in order to stop losing people to the private sector doesn't frankly wash in my experience. Although there are some very good public servants far too many would not last five minutes in the private sector.
It seems that WAG and the National Assembly are becoming detached from the people they serve. *2 cents*
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