Performance pay will not be returning to Northants County Council after £600 wage-rise debacle

Chief executive Paul Blantern was labelled a Scrooge by opposition councillors - because staff were not paid a promised �600 pay-rise.

Chief executive Paul Blantern was labelled a Scrooge by opposition councillors - because staff were not paid a promised �600 pay-rise.

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An ill-fated performance-related pay scheme will not be returning at Northamptonshire County Council in next year’s budget - after this year ended in disaster when too many people were found to be good at their job.

Throughout 2016, county council workers were told they would be given a £600 pay-rise if managers gave them an “exceptional” or “highly effective” rating in their yearly reviews.

But when 60 per cent of the 4,000-strong workforce achieved the rating, the council had to scrap the scheme, because it had only budgeted for around a fifth of the authority making the grad.

Announcing yesterday’s stinging £66.9 million cutting budget at County Hall, in which 130 mainly managerial posts will be made redundant, chief executive Paul Blantern said performance pay will not be making a comeback.

He said: “This year, and as a result of the financial back-drop, the way this scheme got evaluated meant we took the difficult decision to say we can’t do it.

“Otherwise there would have been more than 130 people being made redundant. We can’t put staff in a situation where we let them down again.”

The county council is pressing on with plans to commission all of its services out to four mutual organisations.

However Mr Blantern said when staff are moved over to the new organisations, their new employers would be free to offer incentivised pay schemes.

He added that he is currently in talks with unions, such as Unison, to give staff a lesser reward this year. Around £500,000 had been budgeted for performance related pay rises.

Last month Kevin Standishay, of Unison, said the high performing staff promised the pay rise were left frustrated, especially as some have estimated the cost of parking when the council moves its offices over to Angel Street, to be £600 a year.

“Some people have already spent that money,” he said. “People are angry, really angry. They feel like they’ve been ripped off.”

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