Monday, 2 April 2012
Did readers spot the letter in the Sunday Herald yesterday - from the leader of North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) - Councillor Jim McCabe?
The only point I agree with is that NLC is indeed the only council in Scotland to operate such a bonus scheme - which applies only to the most senior and highly paid staff.
But as for the rest of the letter - it's self-serving drivel as far as I'm concerned.
Because if North Lanarkshire Council is so proud of its scheme - why did the details have to be dagged out of the council - by a Freedom of Information request?
Salary scheme is a bonus to council
I refer to your article about remuneration for senior employees.
No employee of North Lanarkshire Council receives a bonus of any kind. Since 2002, at the start of the year, all chief officers have their full salary reduced by a percentage. This top-sliced portion of salary is then set against a number of specific objectives; only by achieving these can chief officers receive this percentage of salary.
So performance-related pay (PRP) is an integral part of salary and not an "income top-up" or "bonus-style payment". Our PRP scheme has delivered a substantial saving since, in 2009-10 alone, no chief officer achieved 100% of PRP. In 2002, we also reduced the amount chief officers could claim in mileage. In total, these two elements have saved the council more than £800,000.
Your article refers to the process by which achievement is determined. To clarify, the chief executive's objectives are set and monitored by myself, the council's depute leader and the leader of the SNP group. The chief executive then sets and monitors the objectives of the executive directors who, in turn, do the same for heads of service. Your report states that North Lanarkshire Council is "one of the last" authorities to utilise PRP.
I am unaware of any other local authority ever having operated a PRP scheme and, in fact, we have been innovative in introducing it. John Wilson MSP is guilty of hypocrisy when he talks about a "scandal". He was a councillor here and knows full well that the SNP group leader participates in setting the level of PRP for the chief executive. It would be a scandal if we did not drive the best possible performance from our chief officers. Bonus payments? No. A scandal? No. A commitment to excellence, improvement and efficiency? Absolutely.
Councillor Jim McCabe
Leader, North Lanarkshire Council