Saturday, 24 October 2015

Performance Pay (29/10/14)

I'm not sure what performance bonus, if any, Iris Wylie received in 2013/14 as head of human resources in North Lanarkshire Council.  

But if Iris Wylie received a single penny it would be completely unjustified and a disgrace, if you ask me.

Because how can North Lanarkshire possibly believe it's right to reward senior managers with big bonus payments when the Council has made such a mess of equal pay?

A mess that council officials have been forced to admit at the ongoing Employment Tribunal in Glasgow although, as yet, no one has accepted responsibility or been held to account for a series on 'errors' and 'mistakes' in scoring and grading thousands of low paid jobs, including those of Home Care workers. 

Now North Lanarkshire's web site (see extract below) says that 21 chief officers outside the senior management team receive a performance bonus of between £4,684.68 and £9,485.11 which comes to between £98,378.28 and £199.187.31 a year.

What must other Council workers think, especially those still fighting for equal pay?

Other chief officers
Individual service delivery within each directorate is the responsibility of a Head of Service. There were 24* Heads of Service whose salaries in 2013/14 ranged between £17,076.98 and £94,580.19 plus performance-related pay between £4,684.68 and £9,485.11. The expenses reimbursed for this group in 2013/14 totals £1,245.65.
*There are 21 Head of Service posts but, due to promotion and retirement, a total of 24 people filled these posts in 2013/14.

North Lanarkshire Council (15 September 2014)

A number of readers have been in touch to ask if there is any further progress in the settlement talks with North Lanarkshire Council (NLC).

Well the current position is that discussions are still going on behind the scenes, but I am increasingly pessimistic that that these talks will produce a satisfactory outcome.

I suspect the reason that things are dragging on for so long is that the Council is still trying to undervalue many female dominated jobs even though North Lanarkshire has been forced to concede that so many of these jobs (e.g. the Home Carers) have been incorrectly 'scored' under the NLC job evaluation scheme. 

So, my view is that these cases will all be heading back to the Employment Tribunal where senior council managers, such as the head of human resources Iris Wylie, will have to face the QC who has been acting for the Action 4 Equality Scotland (A4ES) clients, Daphne Romney.

Now I think it's fair to say that Daphne Romney has torn the Council's 'defence' apart and that's before she's had the opportunity to cross examine key figures such as Iris Wylie, who have an awful lot of explaining to do when they finally get into the witness box.

For example: 
  1. Who was responsible for committing all the 'mistakes' and 'errors' over the Council's job evaluation scheme (JES)? 
  2. How is it possible that so many 'mistakes' and 'errors' were made in scoring Home Carers' jobs, to name just one group.
  3. Why did the Council deny there was anything wrong for so many years and why has no one at a senior level been held to account?
  4. How did vital pay information regarding the JES go missing, why was there no back up of this data and who within the Council is responsible for what happened?
  5. How can anyone have confidence in the Council's ability to put things right when essentially the same group of senior officials are still in charge?
Maybe the best thing would be to call the Council's chief executive as a witness to the Employment Tribunal as well because the buck has to stop somewhere and Gavin Whitefield is head of the paid service in North Lanarkshire with a salary of £136,473 plus a 'performance' bonus of £11,039.20  

Performance Pay (1 September 2014)

Gavin Whitefield
Gavin Whitefield CBE, Chief Executive
The Chief Executive within North Lanarkshire is the council's chief policy advisor. He is the main link between council officials and elected members. He is responsible for corporate governance and seeks to ensure the co-ordination of the organisation and all its functions. Of primary concern to the Chief Executive is the overall direction and performance of the council.
Salary 2012/13: £136,473 (plus performance-related pay of £11,039.20
Good to Talk (15 March 2014)

Iris Wylie, as the North Lanarkshire's Head of Personnel, is one of the key figures in what has been going on within the Council in recent years - in terms of Single Status, Equal Pay and Job Evaluation.

As I've pointed out to readers in previous posts, Iris Wylie is well connected in terms of the politics of equal pay, having previously been the partner of Mike Kirby, the long-time convener of Unison in Scotland and now the union's regional secretary. 

Now I don't know if Iris and Mike are still on speaking terms, but what I do know is that the situation is North Lanarkshire Council is a disgrace, if you ask me, and that someone, somewhere must surely accept responsibility for the complete hash the Council has managed to make of things.

As ever, I am prepared to let bygones be bygones, for the greater good so to speak, because the important issue now is the shabby way the Council's low paid workers (mainly women of course) have been treated, and how that situation is going to be put right.

So if Iris Wylie and/or Mike Kirby would like to meet up with me to see what can be done, then I for one would be happy do so - I'm sure it would be good to talk even after all these years.     

Small World (1 April 2012)

I asked readers in North Lanarkshire for help the other day.

I wanted to know if people could help trace the background to the controversial North Lanarkshire Council bonus scheme - which has hit the newspaper headlines recently.

The one that seems to be restricted to only the most senior and highly paid officials - as far as anyone knows.

I asked readers if a reference (HR/IW) on the previously secret document - which has been dragged out of the council via an FOI request - might provide a clue.

Since then readers' suggestions have been flying in by e-mail and they all point in the same direction - that HR stands for Human Resources - and that IW stands for Iris Wylie, the council's Head of Human Resources.

Now that would make sense - why didn't I think of it before?

Because the name Iris Wylie is on the list as receiving a top-up or bonus payment of £5,758.56 - and HR is the obvious area of the council from which to seek advice on pay issues.

So who knows for sure? 

Maybe the council will explain the background properly and publicly - or maybe Iris Wylie will get in touch directly and fill in some of the the gaps in people's knowledge - which I'm happy to publish on the blog site.

I first met Iris Wylie years ago - but haven't seen her in the flesh for some time.

The last occasion I remember seeing Iris was at the Scottish TUC in Glasgow in 1999 - when she was 'stepping out' - so to speak - with the Scottish Convener of Unison, Mike Kirby.

Mike has since moved on from his role as convener and stepped up - so to speak - to become the union's regional secretary in Scotland - a full-time paid official in other words. 

Iris and Mike are both mentioned in a previous post to the blog site - one of the earliest posts in fact - going all the way back to April 2007. 

So it all just goes to show what a small world it really is - though that doesn't help to explain why a Labour council - yes a Labour council - would introduce a secret incentive pay scheme - or a bonus scheme for those at the top, as I think it should be called.

Especially one that rewards only the most senior council officials - and appears to exclude the vast majority of the workforce - many of whom are very low paid of course - and many of whom are still fighting for equal pay.

No wonder people are so cynical about politics and politicans these days - and that includes the politics of local government.