MPs call for Home Office to scrap bonuses

By Wesley Johnson
Sunday 23 October 2011 01:05

The Home Office should scrap plans to award its top-performing senior staff bonuses worth £300,000, MPs said today.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said the payment of bonuses to senior civil servants who already earn more than £60,000 was "wrong" and should be stopped in the current financial climate.

The bonuses are planned despite the Home Office facing a 25% cut to its budget over the next four years, including in policing and immigration, the MPs said.

The committee's report comes after it heard evidence from the department's permanent secretary Dame Helen Ghosh.

"In her evidence to the Committee, Dame Helen Ghosh said that the Home Office proposes to pay bonuses to some senior civil servants who earn above £60,000," Mr Vaz said.

"We believe this is wrong. We have seen nothing to demonstrate that this offers value for money. We do not believe that such bonuses should be paid at present."

In its report, the committee added: "We are surprised that, in a time of acute financial stringency, when major savings are being demanded from the police and elsewhere within the responsibilities of the Home Office, it is still proposed to pay bonuses to senior staff in the department.

"We understand that bonuses are to be paid to the 'top-performing' 25% of staff in the senior civil service ranks (that is officials whose salaries are at least £60,000 a year).

"If paid at the same rate as bonuses in the year 2009-10 this would cost in the region of £300,000."

The MPs went on: "We have seen nothing to demonstrate that this produces value for money, we have seen nothing to convince us that such additional payments are based on genuine performance measurements, and we do not believe that such bonuses should be paid at present."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Home Office is adhering to guidelines on senior civil service bonuses set for all departments by the Cabinet Office in 2010."

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