Pay policy statement 2023/24
Introduction from the Leader
This Council is committed to being open and transparent and as Leader I want to ensure that the Council tax payers of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have access to information about how we pay people.
Council services are delivered by people, and most of the people we employ live and work in this County Borough. I want to ensure that Council services are the best they can be, so our pay policy seeks to ensure we can attract, retain and motivate the best employees with the right skills to deliver our services.
This, of course, has to be balanced against the need to ensure value for money for the local Council taxpayer.
The Council is one of the main employers in this area and it is important that the Council can offer good quality employment on reasonable terms and conditions and fair rates of pay. This will have a beneficial impact on the quality of life within the community as well as on the local economy.
Cllr S Hunt
Leader of Council
This is Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s (NPT) twelfth annual Pay Policy Statement. This Statement covers the period 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024.
This Pay Policy Statement provides the framework for decision making on pay and in particular decision making on senior pay. Preparing and publishing this statement is a requirement under the Localism Act 2011. The provisions in the Act do not apply to the staff of local authority schools and therefore teaching staff are not included in the scope of this document.
This Pay Policy Statement has been approved by council on 15th March 2023.
The council has the power to appoint staff under Section 112 of the Local Government Act 1972 and complies with all relevant employment legislation in determining the pay and remuneration of its staff.
Terms and conditions of employment
The council employs approximately 6,400 employees. The posts they are employed within are covered by a range of terms and conditions drawn from either:
- National Joint Council for Local Government Services
- Joint National Council for Chief Executives
- Joint National Council for Chief Officers
- Soulbury Committee
- The Joint National Council for Youth and Community Workers
- Teachers (not within the scope of this statement)
The following payscales are provided as Appendices to this policy:
- Appendix A Local Government Services Employee
- Appendix B JNC Chief Executive and Chief Officers
- Appendix C Soulbury Officers
- Appendix D JNC Youth & Community Workers
We publish a breakdown of staff numbers by pay band and gender in the Annual Equalities in Employment Report, published separately. Linked to this is the Gender Pay Gap Report
National Pay Awards
For all employee groups, any nationally agreed pay awards, negotiated at a national level by the local government employers in conjunction with the recognised Trade Unions will be applied. The council will pay these nationally agreed pay awards as and when determined unless full council decides otherwise.
In 2008 the council completed a Job Evaluation exercise in relation to jobs which are governed by the NJC for LGS’ terms and conditions of employment. A new pay and grading structure, based on the outcome of the Job Evaluation exercise, was developed in partnership with, and agreed with, our trade unions via a Collective Agreement and introduced in 2008. The pay and grading structure is based on the NJC for LGS’ nationally negotiated pay spine as the basis for its pay and grading structure. In order to implement the new LGS pay spine to apply from 1st April 2019, revisions to the pay and grading structure were again agreed via Collective Agreement reached with our trade unions in January 2019 to both implement the new pay spine, and at the same time ensure that arrangements remain equality proofed. These arrangements applied with effect from 1st April 2019.
The council seeks to maintain the equality proofed pay and grading structure by subjecting any newly established job or jobs which have significantly changed to a job evaluation assessment. A Joint Job Evaluation Panel, comprising of trained management and trade union representatives continues to meet on a regular basis to consider and determine Grading Appeals.
It is the council’s policy that all appointments to jobs with the council are made at the minimum of the relevant pay grade, although this can be varied where necessary, e.g. to secure the services of the best available candidate/s.
Heads of Service can authorise a variation of starting salary for all jobs below Head of Service level. The Special Appointments Committee, a committee with delegated authority from Personnel Committee, will determine the starting salary of Heads of Service.
The Welsh Government recommends that in addition to agreeing the parameters for setting the pay of chief officers, full council should be offered the opportunity to vote on large salary packages which are to be offered in respect of new appointments in accordance with their agreed pay policy statements. The Welsh Ministers consider £100,000 is the right level for that threshold.
For this purpose, salary packages should be consistent with the categories defined for remuneration in the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2014. This will include salary, bonuses, fees, allowances routinely payable, any expenses allowance chargeable to UK income tax, the relevant authorities’ contribution to the officer’s pension and any other benefits in kind to which the officer is entitled as a result of their employment.
In accordance with this:
- Full Council will approve the commencement of the appointment process for all Chief Officer posts which exceed this threshold.
- Council will confirm the maximum salary that would be offered and delegate responsibility for the final determination to the Special Appointments Committee.
- The process then continues with the Special Appointments Committee for all Chief Officer posts (with the exception of Directors and Chief Executive which remain with Full Council).
Other pay-related allowances
All other pay-related allowances, e.g. overtime payments, are the subject of national and/or locally negotiated arrangements and subject to Member approval at personnel committee or full council, as appropriate (refer to Decision Making for more information).
The terms and conditions of employment relating to annual leave, hours of work, overtime payment, weekend working arrangements and sick pay for all employee groups (with the exception of teaching staff) are set out in Appendix E.
Travel and Subsistence Payments
The Council’s Travel and Subsistence Payment Scheme requires employees to use the most cost effective method of transport for all journeys at all times. To ensure that all business journeys are absolutely necessary, whether inside or outside the County Borough area and that the most cost effective method of travel is used by all employees, the scheme provides a checklist to be completed by employees before the line manager authorises the use of the employees own vehicle. Rates payable are in line with HMRC mileage allowances. The Scheme is available online or on request from the HR Team.
Acting up and honoraria payments
There may be occasions when an employee is asked to carry out duties which are additional to those of their substantive post, for a period of time, or to ‘act up’ into a more senior job within the council, covering the full range of duties of the higher job. In such circumstances an additional payment may be made in line with the council’s policy on payment of acting up or honoraria. The schemes apply to LGS employees only. The Scheme is available online or on request from the HR Team.
Personnel committee must approve any acting up or honoraria payments proposed for officers who are not within the scope of the scheme, or where the acting up or honoraria payment would result in the total pay package exceeding £100,000 approval must be sought from full council.
Market Pay Scheme
Job evaluation has enabled the council to set appropriate pay levels based on internal job size relativities within the council. However, in exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to take account of the external pay market in order to attract and retain employees with the necessary specific knowledge, skills and experience.
The council has a Market Pay Scheme to ensure that the requirement for any market pay supplements is objectively justified by reference to clear and transparent evidence of relevant market comparators, using appropriate data sources. The Scheme is available online or on request from the HR Team. It is the council’s policy that any such additional payments are kept to a minimum and reviewed on a regular basis so that they can be withdrawn where no longer considered necessary.
The principles underpinning the Market Pay Scheme are applied to all employee groups within the council. Heads of Service can authorise market pay supplements following a recommendation from the Head of People and Organisational Development. Where it is proposed to apply a market supplement to a Chief Officer post within the council, approval is sought from the council’s personnel committee. Should the market supplement result in the total pay package exceeding £100,000 approval must be sought from full council.
Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)
To help people save more for their retirement, the government now requires employers to automatically enrol their workers into a workplace pension scheme. Neath Port Talbot Council participates in the Local Government Pension Scheme. If an employee has a contract of employment for at least 3 months (and is under 75 years of age), they will be automatically enrolled into the LGPS, from the date employment commenced. Opt out provisions apply.
The employee contribution rates, which are defined by statue, currently range between 5.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent of pensionable pay depending on full time equivalent salary levels. The Employer contribution rate is set by Actuaries advising the City and County of Swansea LGPS Pension fund and reviewed on a triennial basis in order to ensure the scheme is appropriately funded. The employer contribution rate effective from 1st April 2022 was 26.9% and will decrease to 22.1% on 1st April 2023 following the latest triennial valuation.
Other employee benefits
The council believes that it has a responsibility to help support the health, wellbeing and welfare of its employees in order to ensure that they are able to perform at their best. As part of this approach and in common with other large employers the council provides a small number of non-pay benefits such as eye test vouchers for users of display screen equipment at work, childcare vouchers via a salary sacrifice scheme (following the Government’s closure of such schemes, this benefit is now only available for those who joined the scheme prior to October 2018) and participation in the Cycle to Work scheme.
Employees who are members of the LGPS (see above) have the opportunity to join the Salary Sacrifice Shared Costs Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) Scheme, assisting employees who wish to increase pension benefits at retirement by paying additional voluntary contributions into the Local Government AVC Scheme.
In accordance with the constitution of the council, the council’s personnel committee has delegated authority for decision-making in relation to staff pensions, staff terms and conditions, i.e. related matters such as job evaluation strategies, national/local pay negotiations, operational conditions of service policies e.g. sickness, Directorate structural/staffing changes, including early retirement/redundancy policies, and industrial disputes.
Under the Local Authorities (Standing Order) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 any decision to determine or vary the remuneration of chief officers, or those to be appointed as chief officers, must be made by full council (please see Starting Salaries above).
Collective bargaining arrangements with Trade Unions
The Council recognises the following trade unions:
NJC for Local Government Services
JNC for Chief Officers
- Association of Educational Psychologists AEP
JNC for Youth & Community Workers
Recognition is for the purposes of consultation and negotiation on a collective basis in relation to relevant matters, which are not determined by National Negotiating bodies, which both parties agree are appropriate/beneficial to be determined by agreement. Negotiations are conducted with the aim of reaching agreement and avoiding disputes. Recognition also relates to representation on an individual trade union member basis.
The Chief Executive
The Chief Executive is the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility of the council. The Chief Executive is the statutory appointed Chief Executive Officer pursuant to S56 of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. The Council is a large and complex organisation with a multi-million pound budget. It has a very wide range of functions and has responsibility for the provision of a wide range of essential services, employing some 6,400 staff.
The role of Chief Executive is a full time and permanent position. The post holder is selected on merit, against objective criteria, following public advertisement. The Chief Executive is appointed by full council.
The Chief Executive works closely with Elected Members to deliver the strategic aims of the council, including the well-being objectives:
- All children get the best start in life
- Communities are thriving and sustainable
- Our environment, heritage and culture can be enjoyed by future generations
- Local people are skilled and can access high quality, green jobs
The Chief Executive routinely works in the evenings and on weekends as well as the standard Monday to Friday business week. The Chief Executive also heads the ‘on call’ arrangements particularly to cover emergency planning arrangements.
The current Chief Executive, Mrs Karen Jones, has been in post since January 2021. Mrs. Jones has over 20 years’ experience with the council, working in a number of senior positions; prior to her appointment Mrs. Jones was the council’s Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer.
With effect from 1st April 2022, the Chief Executive’s salary falls within the pay band £137,015 to £150,524 per annum (please see Appendix B for more details).
The council has a statutory duty to appoint a Returning Officer for specified Elections and Referenda and has appointed the Council’s Chief Executive to this role. The Returning Officer is personally responsible for a wide range of functions in relation to the conduct of Elections and Referenda and is paid for discharging these functions in accordance with prescribed fees.
Details of the Chief Executive’s pay, including any additional payments are published in the Statement of Accounts. This document is published separately.
Expenses such as for train, car mileage, overnight accommodation and parking are claimed back in accordance with the council’s Travel and Subsistence Payments Policy.
The Chief Executive is not currently a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme.
The notice period for the role is 6 months.
The current definition for senior posts is classed as:
Statutory Chief Officers:
- The Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning
- The Director of Social Services, Health and Housing
- The Chief Finance Officer who undertakes the role of Section 151 Officer
- The Head of Legal and Democratic Services who undertakes the role of Monitoring Officer
- The Democratic Services Manager* who undertakes the role of Head of Democratic Services
* NB: whilst this post has the status in law as a statutory Chief Officer, pay and conditions are in line with the NJC for Local Government Services pay and conditions of employment.
Non-statutory Chief Officers - non-statutory posts that report directly to the Chief Executive Officer:
- The Director of Environment and Regeneration
- The Director of Strategy and Corporate Services
Deputy Chief Officers - officers that report directly to statutory or non-statutory Chief Officers:
- The Chief Digital Officer
- The Head of Adult Services
- The Head of Children and Young People Services
- The Head of Early Years, Inclusion and Partnerships
- The Head of Education Development
- The Head of Engineering and Transport
- The Head of Housing and Communities
- The Head of Leisure, Tourism, Heritage and Culture
- The Head of People and Organisational Development
- The Head of Planning and Public Protection
- The Head of Property and Regeneration
- The Head of Streetcare
- The Head of South Wales Trunk Road Agency
- The Head of Support Services and Transformation
From 1st April 2022, Corporate Director posts attract a salary within the pay band £113,410 to £122,149 per annum (please see Appendix B for more details).
From 1st April 2022, the Chief Finance Officer post attracts a salary within the pay band of £92,376 to £101,655 per annum (please see Appendix B for more details).
From 1st April 2022, Heads of Service posts attract a salary within the pay band of £79,194 to £86,916 per annum (please see Appendix B for more details).
Details of senior staff pay are published in the Statement of Accounts.
Number of senior posts remunerated over £100,000
Four posts attract a remuneration package over £100,000. Remuneration in relation to chief officers for the purposes of pay policy statements (as defined in section 43(3) of the Act) includes:
- salary (for chief officers who are employees) or payment under a contract for services (for chief officers who are self-employed)
- charges, fees and allowances
- benefits in kind
- any increase or enhancement of the chief officer’s pension entitlement where that increase is a result of a resolution of the authority
- any amounts payable on the chief officer ceasing to hold office or to be employed by the authority (future severance payments)
In line with the Welsh Government guidance, the council is required to set out this information in bands of £5,000, as follows (effective from 1st April 2023):
£100,000 - £105,000 – N/A
£105,000 - £110,000 – N/A
£110,000 - £115,000 – N/A
£115,000 - £120,000 – one post
£120,000 - £125,000 – two posts
£125,000 - £130,000 – N/A
£135,000 - £140,000 – N/A
£140,000 - £145,000 – N/A
£145,000 - £150,000 – one post
Recruitment of senior officers
The council’s Policy and Procedures with regard to the recruitment of Chief Officers is contained within the Officer Employment Procedure Rules as set out in the council’s constitution available online.
The determination of the remuneration to be offered to any newly appointed Chief Officer will be in accordance with the pay structure and relevant Council policies in place at the time of recruitment. Any salary package that exceeds the threshold of £100,000 must be approved beforehand by full council.
Additions to Chief Officers' pay
The council pays a standard mileage rate of 45 pence per mile to Chief Officers (and all other employees) where the Chief Officer uses his or her private vehicle on Council business. The council also reimburses any other reasonable expenses, incurred by the Chief Officer on behalf of the council whilst on council business, on production of receipts and in accordance with JNC conditions and other local conditions.
The cost of membership by the Chief Executive and Corporate Directors of one professional body is met by the council.
Independent Remuneration Panel
Section 143A of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 refers to the Independent Remuneration Panel in Wales (“the IRP”) and sets out their functions in relation to salaries of heads of paid service. The IRP may make recommendations about any policy in this Pay Policy Statement which relates to the salary of the council’s Chief Executive and any proposed change to the salary of the council’s Chief Executive. The council, will, as required, consult the IRP in relation to any change to the salary of the Chief Executive which is not commensurate with a change of the salaries of the council’s other staff, and will have regard to any recommendation received from the IRP when deciding whether or not to proceed with making the change.
The council is required to identify in this pay policy statement whether any such referral has been made to the IRP, and if so, the nature of the referral, the IRP’s decision and the council’s response.
An authority which chooses not to follow the advice of the Panel may become subject to a Ministerial direction to reconsider their position. The Act also provides that authorities will be able to reduce (but not increase) the salary payable to their Chief Executive in advance of a recommendation from the IRP, so long as the contract under which the salary is payable does not prevent the authority from changing the salary after receiving a recommendation.
The council has not made a referral to the IRP relating to the salary payable to the Chief Executive.
The council’s key tool for talent management and succession planning is through the Succession Planning Toolkit which requires each management team to set out their planned arrangements to develop the workforce of the future. The Performance Appraisal process, as well as placing an emphasis on performance, seeks to put in place individual learning plans, developing the skills necessary not only for current roles, but with a future focus to support career development and succession planning.
The Learning, Training and Development team provide a very wide range of in-house and externally provided training and development options, to support the development of employees at every level in the organisation. A range of corporate events support succession planning:
- Coaching support for newly appointed Chief Officers
- Aspiring Corporate Directors (SOLACE)
- Aspiring Heads of Services (SOLACE)
- Action Learning Set for Aspiring Directors (SOLACE)
- Managing and Motivating Hybrid Teams
- The Senior Leadership Experience with Academi Wales
- The Learning, Training & Development Programme for 2023/24 (suite of leadership and management training)
Performance related pay
The council expects high levels of performance from all employees and has implemented a Performance Appraisal Scheme to monitor, evaluate and manage employee performance on an ongoing basis.
No bonus or performance-related pay mechanism applies, although the maximum incremental pay point of the pay grades for the Chief Executive and Corporate Directors are only payable if there is a satisfactory outcome to their respective annual performance appraisal.
The Performance Management Policy and Procedure is available online or on request from the HR Team.
Support for lower paid staff
The council has committed to continuing discussions with Trade Unions with the objective of introducing the Living Wage on an affordable and sustainable basis when circumstances allow. The lowest spinal column point on the LGS pay spine, SCP 1, currently equates to £10.50 per hour which is below the Real Living Wage Foundation’s national living wage rate of £10.90 per hour.
The council has committed to working with Chwarae Teg as part of the Chwarae Teg FairPlay Employer Scheme. Chwarae Teg intially supported the Council by carrying out a Gender Equality Audit of the council’s policy and practices, and this has been used to inform the development of a Gender Equality Action Plan. This Plan includes specific actions to reduce the Council’s Gender Pay Gap as well as actions to support low paid women, particularly important, as whilst the Council’s overall gender profile is 71% female, 97% of those employed in the Council’s lowest pay band, Grade 1, are female.
In 2020/21 through the Fair Play Employer Scheme we were able to provide career development sessions for low paid employees, to gain skills and confidence, and in 2021/2022 we ran reward and recognition workshops for managers to help them engage and motivate employees.
In 2022/23 we have worked with Chwarae Teg to launch a mentoring scheme, ‘NPT Ment2Be’ aimed at supporting low paid women in the workplace. The aim of this programme is to offer opportunities to staff who are interested in career progression in areas of the Council that they are not necessarily currently working in – and want to know more, or areas that they are working within, but they are unsure where to go next in their careers. Whilst the scheme aims to support low paid women, access to the scheme will not be limited to low paid women, and will be an inclusive opportunity available to all employees to access.
The Council’s Learning Training & Development Team provide confidential support to employees who want to improve their ‘Essential Skills’, and can design a bespoke programme for employees which can include ‘Calculating with Confidence’, Literacy, ‘Improve your Spelling’, Report Writing, Form Filling, ‘Develop your IT Skills’, ‘Internet and Email’ and Communication Skills. Whilst not exclusively aimed at lower paid employees, this support is aimed at supporting employees to gain new confidence in their skills and abilities and in order to help them progress in their careers.
In a similar vein, the internal network of Digital Partners (DPs) aims to help employees gain digital confidence and overcome any barriers to getting digitally active in both the workplace and their personal lives. DPs complete the following training package:
- ‘Digital Champions Essentials’,
- ‘Helping your colleagues with digital skills’,
- ‘Using your role to help customers get online’,
- ‘Working with people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities’
- ‘Visual impairment and technology’
- ‘Working with learners who are deaf or hard of hearing’
- ‘Working with people with memory loss’
- ‘Using the internet to help people love later life’
Early retirement, voluntary redundancy and compulsory redundancy
The council’s Exit Policy for employees prior to reaching normal retirement age, is set out within its Early Retirement, Voluntary Redundancy and Compulsory Redundancy (ER / VR / CR) Scheme, in accordance with Regulations 5 and 6 of the Local Government (Early Termination of Employment) (Discretionary Compensation) Regulations 2006. Please refer to Appendix F.
Please note that a separate scheme operates for those employed on Teacher terms and conditions of employment.
Under the ER / VR / CR Scheme, all Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy expressions of interest are subject to a robust business case, seeking to limit discretionary compensation to an affordable limit, as well as considering the costs of any consequential organisational / pay grade changes.
When calculating the value of a severance package, the following payments should be included:
- salary paid in lieu of notice
- lump sum redundancy/severance payment
- cost to the council of the strain on the pension fund arising from providing early access to an unreduced pension.
Any severance package in respect of early termination of employment that exceeds a threshold of £100,000 must be approved beforehand by full council.
The council has operated a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme during the financial year 2022/2023 and details of all employees who exited the council’s employment under this Scheme can be found in the annual Statement of Accounts.
The UK Government intends to introduce Regulations that will enable the recovery of exit payments made to employees who leave the public sector and return within 12 months, although the timetable for these regulations is not as clear. The minimum salary to which the recovery provisions will apply is £80,000 per annum. If the UK Government introduces these Regulations, council policies will be updated, as appropriate, to take this into account.
Employees who leave the council’s employment on the grounds of early retirement (ER) or voluntary redundancy (VR) who are employed on LGS Grades 11, 12 and 13 or equivalent, will not normally be permitted to return to any paid temporary or permanent NPT council employment (which includes schools) or be re-engaged as an agency worker or on a consultancy basis. However, in exceptional circumstances, re-employment may be permitted if the “employing” Head of Service is able to provide a robust business case for doing so which is acceptable to the Chief Finance Officer and Head of People and Organisational Development, in consultation with the relevant trade union/s.
All other employees who leave the council’s employment on the grounds of early retirement (ER) or voluntary redundancy (VR) will not be permitted to return to employment with the council for a period of 12 months following their leaving date. However, again, and in exceptional circumstances, earlier re-employment may be permitted if the “employing” Head of Service is able to provide a robust business case for doing so which is acceptable to the Chief Finance Officer and Head of People and Organisational Development, in consultation with the relevant trade union/s.
Employees are permitted to take flexible retirement in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Pension Scheme and the council’s Flexible Retirement Scheme
Off payroll arrangements
Where the council is unable to recruit to a job under a contract of service, or where there is a need for specialist support for a specific project, the council will, where necessary, consider engaging individuals under a contract for service. These will be sourced through the relevant procurement process under the council’s Contract Procedure Rules, ensuring the council is able to demonstrate value for money from competition in securing the relevant service.
Where the contract for service is to provide cover for a vacant post, in addition to ensuring adherence to Contract Procedure Rules, decision making in relation to the appointment will be in line with the council’s rules in relation to appointments i.e. council will determine appointments at Director level, Special Appointments Committee will determine appointments at Head of Service level, and Heads of Service or those acting under their authority will determine appointments at Strategic Manager level and below.
With effect from April 2017, the UK Government introduced “Intermediaries Legislation”, known as IR35, reforming tax rules for off-payroll working in the public sector and the council has implemented the new rules in line with the legislation.
Pay relativities within the Council
The lowest paid employee is on £20,258 per annum, in accordance with the minimum spinal column point (SCP 1) of the NJC pay spine for Local Government Services employees. This excludes apprentices who are engaged on different arrangements with training being the main feature of the arrangement and it also excludes agency staff.
The highest paid employee is the Chief Executive and the pay band minimum is £137,015 rising to the pay band maximum of £150,524. The current post holder earns £147,146.
The median salary in the council is £26,845.
The pay multiple between the lowest paid (full time equivalent) employee and the Chief Executive is a ratio of 1:7.10 and the pay multiple between the lowest paid employee and average Chief Officer is a ratio of 1:4.41.
The pay multiple between the median full time equivalent earnings and the council’s Chief Executive is a ratio of 1:5.36 where all council employees are taken into account and the same where employees appointed and managed by head teachers/Governing Bodies are excluded from the calculation, as required by the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.
The multiple between the median full time equivalent earnings and the average council Chief Officer is 1:3.33 where all council employees are taken into account and the same where employees appointed and managed by head teachers/Governing Bodies are excluded from the calculation, as required by the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.