FOI release

Redundancy payments for staff 2007-2010

A request and disclosure of information on redundancy payments for staff from 2007 to 2010.



  • Date requested: 16 June 2010
  • Publish date: 14 July 2010
  • Updated: 10 November 2010


Can the Department provide information regarding the following:

  1. The total value of redundancy payments for staff in each of the last three financial years, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10?

  2. How many redundancies for each of these financial years this total relates to. For example, £1 million for two redundancies in 2008-09?

  3. The number of redundancy payments over £100,000, in £50,000 brackets. For example: £150,000-£200,000 - five people; £200,000-£250,000 - six people; £300,000-£,000 - two people; £350,000-£400,000 - three people, etc?


The answer to question 1 is set out in the table below:

Financial Year Total Value
2007-08 £8.1 million
2008-09 £6.6 million
2009-10 £23.1 million

The answer to question 2 is set out in the table below:

Financial Year Number of staff taking Voluntary Early Release
2007-08 110
2008-09 94
2009-10 187

The answer to question 3 is set out in the table below:

Payments of £100,000 or more Number of staff
£100,000 to £150,000 29
£150,000 to £200,000 27
£200,000 to £250,000 7
£250,000 to £300,000 5
£300,000 to £350,000 fewer than 5 individuals
£350,000 to £400,000 fewer than 5 individuals
£400,000 to £450,000 0
£450,000 to £500,000 fewer than 5 individuals

By way of background, the department thought it might be useful to provide background information to the circumstances that led to the department’s decisions to fund the voluntary release of staff in each of these financial years.

In 2007-8, as a direct result of the findings contained in the Gershon Review, the department (which was at that time the Department for Education and Skills) was required to reduce its headcount. It spent £8.1 million on releasing 110 people (at an average cost of £73,000 per person). As with any organisation committed to avoiding compulsory redundancy, the staff who left (who were mostly from junior or middle management grades) went on voluntary, flexible terms (which are capped) meaning the department could fund these releases at a considerably lower cost to the public purse.

In 2008-09, the department (which was then the Department for Children, Schools and Families) spent £6.6 million on releasing 94 staff (at an average cost of £70,000 per person). This reduction was directly linked to a programme of corporate transformation which saw the Department move to a ‘shared service’ model, buying a resource management system and core HR services (including pay and helpline) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As in the previous financial year, the staff who volunteered for a release package were those working in these transactional areas and were mostly junior grades, meaning low release costs and longer term savings for the Department (with an anticipated saving of approximately £8.2 million a year).

In 2009-10, the department (still Department for Children, Schools and Families) spent £23.1 million on releasing 187 people. This was a continuation of the Department’s restructuring and transformation programme. As a result of increasingly limited redeployment opportunities and the need to further reduce our headcount, these voluntary releases were offered on compulsory terms and were therefore more expensive (an average of £126,000 per person). They also included the release of more senior managers, including the Senior Civil Service (we have a target to reduce the number of SCS staff working in the Department by 20 per cent, by 31 December 2012).

However, despite this increased cost, the department will save more than £9 million  on salaries each year, and the payback period (given that our headcount will be permanently lower as a result) will be less than 2.5 years.

Published 14 July 2010