Severance Policy in Devolved Public Sector in Scotland

Closed 23 Jun 2017

Opened 31 Mar 2017

Feedback updated 21 Jun 2019

We asked

The Scottish Government seeks to ensure severance arrangements for the wider devolved public sector are fair and equitable while providing value for money for the people of Scotland.

We asked you for your views on severance arrangements in Scotland: whether recent powers deriving from the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and allowing Scottish Ministers to bring forward subordinate legislation on capping and recovery of severance payments in the devolved public sector in Scotland should be used - or other reforms taken forward - to achieve better outcomes, deliver best value to taxpayers, flexible and responsive public services and a fair deal for public sector employees, through the introduction of an exit payment cap, recovery of exit payments and changing exit payment terms.

The consultation launched on 31 March 2017 and closed on 23 June 2017.  The consultation sought views on four options:

  • The status quo;
  • Non-legislative change;
  • Replicating UK arrangements; and
  • A hybrid approach mixing legislative and non-legislative arrangements.

You said

We received 57 consultation responses from 9 individuals and 48 organisations, including 15 local authorities and 13 representative bodies.

Two-thirds of respondents who answered the direct question on policy options supported the status quo.

The key themes from respondents, included;

  • Severance payments not being a significant issue in Scotland;
  • Sufficient governance and scrutiny around exit payments already; and
  • Reduced exit payments terms, would make reform and reorganisation harder to achieve.

 

We did

We have published the non-confidential responses to the consultation and analysed all responses.  Ministers have decided not to legislate for changes to severance policy and to introduce an administrative change only, which will include a cap on exit payments, measures on re-employment and improved value to the public purse.

An administrative approach provides a proportionate response to the consultation, while recognising the need to address a relatively small number of cases where severance payments were not well handled and perceived as excessive.

We will strengthen the governance and accountability of severance payments, by updating the Scottish Public Finance Manual and enhancing training and support for Accountable Officers and Board Members.

We will continue to work with key stakeholders to shape the changes to severance arrangements and expect the changes to be launched by the end of 2019.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The Scottish Government seeks to ensure severance arrangements are fair and equitable while providing value for money for the people of Scotland. Severance continues to play an essential role in ensuring employers across the public sector in Scotland deliver services efficiently and effectively by enabling them to manage changes to workforces in reaction to changing organisational circumstances - while at the same time helping leavers bridge the gap into new employment.

Across the devolved public sector in Scotland, over 3,000 exit payments at a cost of £119 million were made in 2015 16. In most cases, the cost of this exit payment is recovered from the year on year savings from no longer paying salary for such posts. This consultation represents an opportunity to provide assurance this is money well spent and assess whether reform is required.

To do this, the Severance Policy for Scotland consultation will set out current practice across the public sector landscape to manage and control severance arrangements and the underpinning policy set out by the UK Government. It will ask you to consider four policy options and whether there is a case for change to severance arrangements in the devolved public sector in Scotland and if so, what that change could look like.
 

Why your views matter

Scottish Ministers want to hear your views on whether recent powers should be used - or other reforms taken forward - to achieve better outcomes by delivering best value to taxpayers, flexible and responsive public services and a fair deal for public sector employees, through changing exit payments arrangements, in particular through the introduction of an exit payment cap, recovery of exit payments and changing exit payment terms.

Following your response to this consultation, Scottish Ministers will consider all responses and decide what option to take forward; balancing the maintenance of constructive relationships with unions and employers, value for money for the taxpayer and the fair treatment of the public sector workforce.

Click here to view the consultation paper.

Interests

  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Constitution and Democracy
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Public Sector
  • Health and Social Care
  • Work and Skills
  • Scotland Performs