Friday, 10 September 2010


You’re not going to believe this. Even by UK standards this is a stonker.

A top Civil Servant spent his final working year as the stand-in head of Jobcentre Plus. Acting up, as it were. As a result of this he was rewarded with a 25% boost to his pension pot. He retired with a pension pot worth £1.75m.

It is interesting to note that during his tenure as chief executive of the job centres there was a 50% increase in the number of people on the dole.

A row has broken out over the award which has been described as being out of proportion for someone in the post temporarily and it has reminded us all of the debate over public sector pay and perks.

The civil servant in question is one Mel Groves whose pension value in March 2008, was £1.4m while he was chief operating officer for the agency. But because he stayed on to be the acting chief executive for one year the value of his fund rocketed. In March this year his fund was valued at £1.75m. Details of the package only emerged in the Jobcentre Plus annual report.

He retired in November 2009 aged 63 if you please (when the Dept of Work and Pensions is demanding that everyone work to the age of 66).

The Department for Work and Pensions admitted the £1.75m pot "looks large" but insisted it was because Mr Groves "has worked for a long time".

Hmmmm? He retired at 63, damn it.

They went on to say that there was nothing unusual about it. It was in line with the pension scheme that he was on. Apparently his wage was £175,000-£179,000 in his last year.

During Mr Goves tenure the number of people collecting Jobseekers’ benefit rose from 1 million to 1.5 million. JC+ was in disarray due to what they call a "capacity challenge" and what we human beings would call too few staff, too few offices, and general mismanagement.

The TaxPayers' Alliance described this situation as an extreme case of gold-plated public sector pensions, which represent a huge liability for taxpayers.

Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger pointed out that the size of the retirement fund was at odds with the experience of people attending Jobcentres. He said that MPs were giving up their lucrative pension provision (awww) and senior civil servants should do the same.

It seems inconceivable that in a country facing the kind of financial challenges we are, and where the chancellor is indicating that he will be ruthless with the benefits of people using the services of this organisation, the boss can run away with a gold plated pension, for presiding over chaos.

Hopefully something will happen soon as the Paymaster General is looking into how many people in the Civil Service are being paid to do nothing. Whitehall admitted having 2,400 in what they call "redeployment pools", and what we human beings would call, people sitting around on their backsides getting paid for doing sod all.

In January, the MoD had 1,525 officials with no role, including about 60 who had been jobless for at least two years.


I suggest: Note from Osborne to Fox. Overall allowance to MoD for salaries reduced by amount due to 1,525 personnel. Action this day.


  1. The perfect opportunity for the Tories to do something useful. Let’s see if they take it.

    It would make a change from bad judgements, smut, insulting foreigners, toadying to the USA, hammering the poor and all the other good things we can count on the GOP (in this country we call them the nasty party) of British politics to do.

    They haven’t sold any peerages yet (except Lord Ashcroft of course) or wangled access for cash (al la trusty sword of British justice) or moody jet fighter deals. No reform agenda al la Mrs Thatcher, we would all be better off in call centres than real jobs. More like a gruel agenda with its all going to be awful in the emergency budget and then it’s all going to be awful in the Chancellors October statement. No doubt after that it will be awful in the Chancellor’s Christmas message, the Chancellor’s Spring fireside chat will be dreadful and his Easter speech will be terrible and so on for five years.

  2. Well good morrow to you too Munguin. You're a cheery wee soul today.

    But you’re right about one thing. This nonsense of these people behaving like they were some sort of 19th century squirearchy has to stop. We started by trying (I’m not sure that we have succeeded) to put MPs in their correct place, ie servants of the public; not rules thereof.

    The Tories have promised us that they will uphold the changes made under Labour (although Cameron has been wavering on the new expenses, as is Harman); they have also promised to radically reform the Lords (although that seems to include the ennoblement of some extra 200 people, so I’m not sure that it’s necessarily the kind of reform. (This will mean around 1000 lords sit; for a population of 60 million. In China fewer than 3000 people sit in a parliament that administers for a population of around 1.4 billion!)

    Perhaps the Tories will be able to do what labour has failed to do, and indeed the Tories has failed to do in the past. Get rid of all the hangers on with their unbelievable conditions whilst at work, and in retirement (at 63!!)

    I shall be asking my MP to find out how much it costs to pay these employed unemployed.

    If only that kind of thing were available to “ordinary” people there would be no unemployment at all.

  3. Only trouble is Tris your MP is one of these unemployed unemployed - Scottish MPs doing nothing but interfering in English matters.

    These people in the public sector should be paying for their own pensions if they want more than the state pension. Why should everyone else be paying towards their pensions.

  4. Billy:

    I agree that there are far too many Scottish MPs. Actually, there are far too many MPs full stop.

    I'd be perfectly happy to see Scottish MPs take on wider geographical areas because most of what their constituents worry about is dealt with by our own parliament. Social Security questions must be their biggest worry, but the English MPs have that to deal with on top of everything else. It’s simply not fair to the English MPs.

    Would it lessen our influence in Westminster if we only had 40 MPs? Yes, but who cares? We have next to no influence anyway. We can’t stop a war, or reverse the budget. We couldn’t even if we could all vote the same way.

    Cameron has promised to reduce the number of MPs and the number of lords and make the lords elected... but I suspect that none of this will happen. It was populist stuff at a time when we were all sick of the lot of them. Nick has been dumped with the constitutional stuff and he’s not going to get much done. There are simply more important things to worry about, we will be told. Actually that’s not true. The way we are governed is important. We should manage to find something cheaper... and something that actually works.

    What IS likely to happen is that there will be another 200 or so elevated to make up the balance which over the years has been very much changed to favour Labour.

    Exactly where they are going to find these people, worthy of a seat in the Lords, worthy of being made aristocrats, noblemen, I'm not entirely sure. (Or for that matter where they will all sit.)

    I suppose I could do that. After all £300+ a day for getting drunk and setting fire to stuff, or dancing with old ladies... piece of cake, I'm well qualified.

  5. Billy: Agree about the pensions too.

    Oh, it can't be done they say.

    Yes it can. It has happened in the private sector. People's whole lives have been shattered because the pension fund they were in went broke, sometimes just weeks before they were due to retire.

    Well, that's what's happened to the Civil Service/LGO/NHS ect pension funds. They are broke. You don't get much broker than Britian.


  6. MP Ian Liddell-Grainger is right to call for this to stop. As are you Tris.

  7. Totally agree with what you say Tris but one Scottish MP at Westminster would be one too many since they don't do anything but interfere in English matters.

    A waste of millions of pounds per year at the moment and would still be a waste of a couple of hundred thousand per year if there were only one.

    The Scottish parliament could easily do everything for Scotland with less MSPs even. And we could get rid of loads of these local councillors who are hiding and doing nothing in the new system.

  8. Went into gov site and searched for 'Fat Cats' no results and asked to check spelling. Is my spelling ok? confused.

  9. Yes Dean. I heard him on the radio this morning. He seems a fairly sound bloke.

  10. O f course Bily. That is my aim. To have an Ambassador or Commissioner in Dover House and a counterpart somewhere near to the American Embassy in Edinburgh.

    I think within the next parliament we will ahve to have a situation where Scottish MPs cannot subvert English legislation.

    The English reasonably clearly voted for a Tory Government. If you add the Liberals to that, they definately have a majority. The Labour majority of Scopttish MPs have absolutely no business voting down legislation for political ends that they have no constituent interest in.

    That must stop.

    As for local councillors their main function appears to be to consume our drink and get fat.

  11. CH: They speak a strange language in the government... note above:

    "redeployment pools"? "capacity challenge"?


    En anglais, por favor, Mine leiber Freund!!

  12. May I have permission to copy a the above post and link back to this site? I have just opened a new section on my forum entitled "DWP Department of Witchhunts and Pickpockets" and this post fits the bill perfectly.

    Funny how this story didnt eaxtly make the headlines whilst stories of scrounging mums did!

  13. You're welcome to the story Miss B.

    I hope that more people will read it.

    You're right about the lack of publicity, but the press in the Uk are a heap of erm.... rubbish!

  14. Witchfinder General for (DWP) get x2 Prime Minister and bonus rated pay

    The highest-paid government IT director, Joe Harley, earned at least £12,500 in performance-related pay last year.

    Harley, IT director general and CIO of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was revealed to earn nearly double the salary of the prime minister (£142,500) in a list published by the Cabinet Office when the new coalition government came to power.
    Virtualization and Data Center Management: Download now

    Although the Cabinet Office’s list showed that Harley earned a salary of up to £249,999, new government salary figures compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed that he earned £262,500 in 2009/10, around five percent more than previously thought.

    However, a spokesperson for the DWP said that the initial Cabinet Office figures “did not include performance-related payments, such as bonuses”.

  15. Thanks for that information Ben E!

    "However, a spokesperson for the DWP said that the initial Cabinet Office figures “did not include performance-related payments, such as bonuses”."

    They make you laugh, don't they?