Following a decision made at the January 2020 meeting of the Employment Matters Committee (EMC), and further at Full Council in April 2020 it was agreed Medway should review the Council’s current performance pay arrangements (known as MedPay). Members agreed they wanted the scheme independently reviewed in order that Members could satisfy themselves it was robust and delivering its objectives fairly. Due to the pandemic the independent review has not taken place, however now we are almost 2 years on, the rationale for reviewing MedPay has significantly grown, due to recruitment and retention issues. This paper follows a Corporate Management Team (CMT) endorsement of February 2022 and presents EMC with a proposal to develop a reward solution to address the identified challenges with MedPay and the current market challenges. It offers a proposal to move to an enhanced MedPay pay approach and provides a further opportunity to add flexibility in a changing market.
Members considered a report which set out a proposal following a review of the Council’s current performance pay arrangements to develop a reward solution to address identified challenges with Medpay and current market challenges. The Chief Organisational Culture Officer directed Members to paragraph 3.2 of the report which detailed why the current pay method needed to be reviewed. Inconsistent judgements and approaches to pay salaries had occurred in a system with a one for all process that was not appropriate. This review sought to potentially not only review pay, but to allow for progression through the bands through a choice based professional framework. This review would allow for a balanced structural mechanism that enabled an allowance that aligned with the market that could be reviewed based on market fluctuations.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments which included:
Independent Review- it was asked what the rationale was behind not following through with an independent review and whether this was due to a lack of need or due to resource issues. The Chief Organisation Culture Officer said that following her review, assessment of the situation and all the concerns that were drawn out of the review, it was concluded that an independent review was not needed as it would identify the same issues. Consideration could be given to a review of the sample tests conducted as part of the pilot if determined that it was needed.
Two Tier System – in response to a question on whether the proposal would create a two-tier system with a market premium applied to certain positions and not others, the officer said that the intention was not to create a two-tier system but to create a system that rewarded existing as well as new employees. The current system did not adequately reward long standing employees.
Redundancies- in response to a question as to whether this would affect current pay or result in job loses, the officer said that this proposal was not intended to adversely affect pay or result in job loss. This project would take place alongside the Council’s transformation programme which would look at operations and how to do things differently to improve outcomes for the residents of Medway.
National Joint Council (NJC) – it was asked if it would be easier to return to the NJC system or if this system delivered aspects that would be beneficial to staff that the NJC system did not. The officer said that whilst it would be easier to return to the NJC system, it was not advisable to do so as the proposed system would be more beneficial for staff. The difference with the proposed system was that it would drive better performance development through enhanced progression in a professional framework.
Fair System – in response to a question on how staff would be convinced that this would be a fairer system, the officer acknowledged that gaining staff trust through this process would be crucial. This was why a Pilot was being conducted, to ensure testing at every stage and to drive home that this new system would be focused more on talent mapping, career progression and giving staff the opportunity to develop.
A Member suggested that a report on findings from the Pilot be presented to Members at a future meeting and this was unanimously agreed by the Committee.
Pilot – it was asked how it was determined who would be included in the pilot and if it would be across a range of service areas. The officer confirmed that the Pilot would include a broad spectrum and demographic of service areas. In identifying areas, exit surveys where pay was highlighted as a reason for leaving and where there were high instances of locums being targeted, an approach was to invite staff to be involved in the Pilot.
The Committed noted the report and agreed: