David Cameron raised pay-offs for special advisers before leaving No 10

Posted On: 
15th July 2016

David Cameron dismissed objections from a senior civil servant to increase the pay-offs to his outgoing team of special advisers. 

David Cameron formally resigned as prime minister on Wednesday
PA Images

Before leaving office, Mr Cameron pushed for those advisers at No 10 who were reappointed in 2015 to get the equivalent of an extra one month’s pay as part of their redundancy packages – at an additional cost to the taxpayer of £282,892.

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John Manzoni, the permanent secretary to the Cabinet Office and the civil service chief executive, issued a request for a ministerial direction – the formal mechanism by which a departmental chief can raise their concerns – when the plan was brought to him.

In a letter to Simon Case, principal private secretary to the prime minister, Mr Manzoni said Mr Cameron was “concerned about the way in which severance payments for outgoing government special advisers have been calculated”.

The then-prime minister, Mr Manzoni’s note read, said the advisers’ employment was “terminating more quickly than they had originally envisaged” and argued that those reappointed at the last election should be entitled to more generous packages.

But Mr Manzoni went on to explain why he disagreed with Mr Cameron.

“I do not believe there is a case for awarding higher sums than those for which the contract allows,” he wrote.  

“Legal advice supports this position, and lawyers have been clear that awarding a further month's salary for special advisers in this position would constitute a payment above their contractual entitlement.”

Mr Case responded by asking Mr Manzoni to press ahead with the extra payment for the spads, saying that Cameron was "mindful of the loyal and dedicated service that has been provided to him over the past six years by his team" and "conscious that the situation they find themselves in is through no fault of their own".

"The termination of their employment has been sudden and unexpected, and he does not wish to exacerbate an already difficult and uncertain time for them by inferring that their long and loyal service is not fully recognised," Mr Case added.

Mr Case said Mr Cameron had therefore decided that the Cabinet Office should make the additional payments to spads that were reappointed in 2015, over-riding their contracts.

And he said that all spads "across government" who were reappointed after the election, and who left office this week, should now be awarded the equivalent of six months' salary.

Advisers are entitled to 4.5 months' pay when their contracts end, plus an extra month for every year of service up to a ceiling of six months.

The move has already triggered an angry reaction from both the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents rank-and-file civil servants, and the FDA, which represents senior managers.

A PCS spokesperson said: "We're appalled that Cameron would seek to reward his political staff in this way, as civil servants have been told they must face further cuts to their redundancy terms. It's that kind of cronyism that gives politics a whiff of corruption and erodes public trust."

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, branded the move and "an astonishing act of hypocrisy from Cameron, increasing redundancy pay for his spads, whilst in the middle of cutting redundancy terms for the rest of the civil service."

Mr Penman added: "It sends a clear message about who he valued most."

This story appeared first on Civil Service World. Read the original article here