A good piece of investigative reporting in the Sunday Herald highlighted the provision of new 'Executive' cars for the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and his deputy. A new Audi and a BMW at a likely cost of £91,000. At the same time this force is cutting a travel scheme for displaced low paid police staffs. You couldn't make it up!
In addition the force has decided to pay out bonuses to 600 police officers worth around £252. This is despite the Scottish Government deciding to suspend bonus payments in their new pay policy.
And they are not the only ones. Managers at Scottish Enterprise got five-figure bonuses as part of a bonus pot for staff for 2009-10. The bonuses at Scottish Enterprise were handed out at a time when the quango was engaged in a £20 million efficiency drive that saw nearly 400 redundancies.
We are often asked to comment on these payments and I remind people that these bonus payments, executive cars etc. were all introduced as part of a move to mirror private sector remuneration practice. There is no evidence that performance pay works anywhere and it certainly runs counter to public service values. At a time when services are being cut, this sort of practice undermines all our efforts to promote public services. Some senior managers need to wake up and recognise that fact.