Police Arbitration Tribunal

The amendments made by the Police Arbitration Tribunal to the Winsor report on police pay and conditions.


On 24 July 2012 the Police Negotiating Board registered a failure to agree on the proposals from the final Winsor report relating to pay and conditions. These proposals were referred by the Police Arbitration Tribunal, which considered evidence regarding the proposed changes and made a final recommendation to the Home Secretary on 6 December 2012.

Read the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s report.

Home Secretary’s decision

The Home Secretary has carefully considered the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s report and has decided to accept the Tribunal’s recommendations. A full response was published in a written ministerial statement on 15 January 2013.

Summary of Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT) recommendation 2012

A new payscale for new constables based on the official side’s proposal. This means that the starting salary for a new entrant with no policing qualifications or experience will be £19,000. A constable with a relevant qualification or experience as a special constable or a police community support officer will be £22,000 and forces will also be given greater discretion to vary pay this amount depending on local recruitment needs. This differs from Tom Winsor’s recommendation which had less flexibility and stated that the salary for new entrants with relevant experience should be £21,000. The new pay scale will also be shorter than the existing one, so that officers will be able to reach the top point of £36,519 in 7 years rather than 10.

The PAT recommended introducing a national on-call allowance to reward officers who, whilst off-duty, are required to remain on-call. The allowance will be £15 per session, recognising the additional contribution that these officers make.

The PAT modified the proposal on competence related threshold payments. It was agreed that these payments should be abolished but this should be phased over 3 years between 2013 and 2016 to reduce the impact on officers.

The PAT recommended that forces should have new flexibility in setting levels of existing regional allowances paid in London and the South East of England. Instead of paying a flat rate across the force area, they will be able to vary payments in different locations based on local retention needs.

Expertise and professional accreditation allowance will not be introduced. This allowance was aimed at rewarding officers for the skills they use in priority functions, linking pay to skills. However, this was only an interim measure pending a more comprehensive system being put in place. Tom Winsor recommended that the College of Policing should design a system of ‘skills thresholds’ to recognise skills and work is being taking forward on this proposal. The Police Negotiating Board (PNB) will be considering the pay aspects of the new system later this year.

The recommendations relating to compulsory severance did not receive a decision from the PAT. The sides of the PNB were given until July 2013 to conclude negotiations on this issue. A failure to agree was registered and the recommendations were referred to PAT for a second time. Their recommendation is currently under consideration by the Home Secretary.

PAT’s decision is not binding on the Home Secretary

The Home Secretary has a statutory responsibility to consider the recommendations of the police negotiating machinery very carefully. We do not believe it would be appropriate to tie the hands of government when it comes to making decisions on public sector pay.

Tom Winsor said that the case for making PAT awards binding on the Home Secretary was unsound because it fails to give due weight to the special position of the government in the control of public expenditure and in the determination of the pay and conditions of an essential public service whose morale, efficiency and performance are central to the maintenance of the safety and security of citizens and their property.

Constable starting salary

Constables’ payscale for new entrants from April 2013

Pay Point Official Side
0 £19,000
1 £22,000 (Depending on skills, experience or local recruitment needs)
2 £23,000
3 £24,000
4 £25,000
5 £27,000
6 £31,032
7 £36,519

Current police officers will not see any change to their pay as a result of this recommendation. They will progress to the next point in the new scale which is higher than their current salary based on satisfactory performance.

However, Tom Winsor also recommended that the pay scale be shortened for existing constables. The PNB considered this proposal and officers who are now on the lowest pay point will be able to reach the top of the scale more quickly.

The Home Secretary has accepted the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s decision on the new starting salary and will consult the PNB on the detail of the determinations to implement this change.

A decision on how it will affect people already within the recruitment process at the point when the new pay scale is implemented will be made following this consultation process.

Applications to the police remain high and we know that where recruitment has taken place in recent years, supply continues to outstrip demand considerably. The starting salary of £19,000 is based on an applicant with no policing qualifications or relevant experience.

The starting salary for a recruit with a certified policing qualification or previous experience as a police community support officer or special constable would be £22,000. Forces will also be able to vary this payment depending on local recruitment needs.

The new payscale will be shorter than the existing one, so that officers will reach the top point of £36,519 in 7 years rather than 10. This will ensure that the speed at which they progress, gaining experience and skills on the job is reflected more accurately in the pay scale. It will also provide a framework to move away from progression based purely on time served to a system where pay increase rely on contribution.

The savings that will be created from the lowering of the starting salary will be ploughed back into police pay, such as the shortening of the payscale.

The lower starting salary will not have an impact on existing officers. The new payscale will mean that officers will be able to progress through the payscale faster to the same maximum.

On-call allowance

Tom Winsor recommended that where an officer is required to take on more than 12 on-call sessions in a year, an on-call allowance of £15 per instance should be paid. He has recommended that the amount paid should be reviewed in the future by the proposed police officer Pay Review Body. The Police Arbitration Tribunal recommended that the rate of £15 was to be paid for each session of on-call, without the qualifying requirement of 12 sessions. The Home Secretary has accepted this recommendation, so that officers do not have to carry out any qualifying sessions before receiving this payment. The on-call allowance is not pensionable.

The government understands that being on-call has an impact on officers’ personal lives and believes that officers should be compensated for this. It has been observed that some roles require officers to be on-call a lot more than others and different forces handle payments for being on-call differently. Implementing a national allowance will ensure that officers are compensated fairly.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal recommended that Competency Related Threshold Payments (CRTP) be phased out over 3 years from April 2013 to April 2016. The Home Secretary has accepted this recommendation as part of a programme of reform that will see pay retargeted to where it more fairly reflects the work that officers do, for example, introducing the on-call allowance. She agreed that CRTP should be phased out instead of removed at once to help officers adjust to the change in their pay.

The government believes that police officers deserve to have pay and conditions that are linked to their performance and the skills which they have acquired and use in their roles. CRTPs have not been as effective in achieving what was intended when they were introduced.

Winsor found that 99% of applicants received CRTPS, questioning how effectively they are linked to performance. The phased reduction of CRTPs mean that officers will be eligible to apply for the proposed specialist skills threshold once CRTPs have been fully phased out by April 2016.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal estimated that over a five year period (April 2013 - April 2017) this proposal would save £284 million.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal decided that removing the entire allowance in April 2013 was too severe and recommended a phased withdrawal over 3 years to protect officers who receive it.

Officers who currently receive CRTPs, at a rate of £1,212, will get £900 from April 2013, £600 from April 2014, £300 from April 2015. CRTP will be completely removed from April 2016.

Regional allowances

Chief constables will have discretion to pay varying levels of regional allowances up to the current maximum, in accordance with the retention issues in different areas of their force.

The impact on an individual’s pay will depend on the chief constable’s use of this power. We believe it is right that chief constables are able to direct resources where they need to at a local level.

Under existing arrangements, the allowance is paid at the same rate across the force area. Under this recommendation, chief constables would have the discretion to vary the level of allowance for different areas within their force up to the maximum for that force.

Regional allowances were introduced to reflect recruitment and retention difficulties in London and the South East respectively.

This change provides chief constables the discretion to amend payments of regional allowances based on the needs of their force. Tom Winsor has recommended that the proposed Police Pay Review Body should consider an enhanced system of regional allowances with a focus on local labour markets in the future, but no decisions have been made on the long-term future of regional and local pay.

This recommendation is not expected to raise costs as chief constables will have the discretion to vary the allowance up to the existing maximum for their force.

Within any force, different areas will have different issues with recruitment and retention. This power will give chief constables the ability to amend the payments based on their knowledge of local policing and their understanding of the priorities within their areas.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal modified the recommendation so that it will not be linked to performance.

Regional allowances are not pensionable and this reform does not change that.

Expertise and professional accreditation allowance

The expertise and professional accreditation allowance was a temporary allowance of £600 per annum recommended by Tom Winsor to recognise accredited skills within policing.

This recommendation was rejected by the Police Arbitration Tribunal. Linking skills to pay is an important principle of reform, and this was demonstrated by the proposed introduction of EPAA.

However EPAA was proposed as an interim measure only until the more comprehensive specialist skills threshold that has been proposed comes into effect.

Competency related threshold payments will be paid at present but phased out by April 2016.

Under Winsor’s recommendations, skills would be recognised in pay by the foundation and specialist skills thresholds, which he proposes come into effect in 2016. Discussion on these proposals are being taken forward in the police negotiating machinery.

The link to skills will remain in the proposed specialist skills threshold recommended by Tom Winsor, whose proposals will mean officers must achieve this to move to the top pay point. The Police Negotiating Board will be discussing this and is due to share its findings with the Home Secretary by July 2014.

Compulsory severance

This proposal would give chief officers working with police and crime commissioners (PCCs) the flexibility to manage their workforce size, structure and composition, in line with other areas such as the armed forces and the prison service.

The recommendations in Part 2 of Tom Winsor’s report include the introduction of a system of compulsory severance for police officers, similar to redundancy.

These recommendations will not undermine the role of the constable or reduce their ability to act without fear or favour. They mean that where work no longer exists, or it no longer needs to be carried out by a police officer, a force would have the ability to remove these posts.

In redundancy scenarios, selection criteria must be objective, fair and consistent. Using redundancy to target an individual arbitrarily, in response to them appropriately challenging unlawful or inappropriate behaviour or actions of senior colleagues, would be irrational and unlawful behaviour.

British Transport Police (BTP) have had a redundancy and resettlement scheme since 2004, giving British Transport Police Authority the power to make BTP officers redundant on a compulsory basis. Since then, BTP officers have continued to fulfil their role as holders of the office of constable.

There are considerable financial pressures facing the government which will have a considerable impact on the police. We feel that it is right for chief constables to have the power to manage the size of the officer workforce in the same way that exists for police staff. Without this power, chief constables may be forced into cutting costs in other areas which could have a negative impact on the public.

The proposals for compulsory severance require primary legislation which would take some time to implement. With growing financial pressures on chief constables and PCCs, we do not feel it would serve them well to delay the implementation of this power.

The introduction of this power will merely provide chief constables and PCCs the opportunity to manage their workforce more effectively. If forces are able to find the required savings through other means then they may choose not to enforce the powers.

The Police Arbitration Tribunal’s recommendation deferred a decision on compulsory severance and gave both sides of the Police Negotiating Board until July 2013 to conclude negotiations on this matter. The staff and official sides registered a failure to agree on 24 July 2013 and the matter was once again referred to the Police Arbitration Tribunal. PAT made a recommendation to the Home Secretary on 20 December 2013 and she will now consider the Tribunal’s findings in line with her statutory duties.

Published 26 March 2013