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Kent County Council plans to pay staff more fairly by overhauling its total reward strategy

Kent County Council is poised to overhaul its reward and compensation strategy to make total reward in the organisation more like that of the private sector.

In what the council is calling ‘a bold and unprecedented move' for a local authority, the council aims to reward staff more fairly and equitably by removing annual incremental pay points from the council's pay grades and introducing annual percentage increases assigned to each appraisal rating.

Local pay for Kent County Council was introduced in 1990 and local pay bargaining in 2004. The council is transforming its Total Contribution Pay process whereby staff receive an annual pay rise of a half to two incremental points on the basis of their personal contribution.

Together with the council's existing total reward package, the council believes this will take it much closer to private-sector pay, with percentage level increases targeted towards each performance category.

At the same time, the council plans to give staff at the top of their pay grade an opportunity to receive a one-off (non-consolidated) payment that is consistent with colleagues who have the same appraisal rating. It also plans to reduce the number of appraisal rating categories from five to four, to help managers differentiate between levels of performance.

Colin Miller, reward manager at Kent County Council, said: "It's a process of evolution rather than revolution. It's simply about reforming our pay to make it fit for the 21st century.

"A lot of our staff say they feel demotivated by the current system and that it does not reward them for superior performance and that their earnings potential is limited because they are at the top of their pay grade. With the proposed changes, we hope to address this and reward all staff more equitably and fairly, according to their individual contribution."

Under the reforms, the Total Contribution Pay process will stay and the existing pay grade boundaries will remain, albeit subject to cost-of-living review.

Miller added: "This isn't a cost-saving initiative. We're simply re-distributing the way we allocate our individual pay progression monies to reward all staff more equitably and fairly."