Civil Servants or the new Fat Cats?

 The National Treatment Agency (NTA) annual accounts 2010 / 11 are out now and as much as they try and make these documents as dull and as grey looking as possible (in these austere times) the NTA accounts still contain some interesting insights
For instance, despite the lack of colour in the pages of the report there is still a silver lining for the NTA top brass, because while the Department of Health (DoH) advised the NTA Board that there would be no increase in basic pay for VSMs (Very Senior Managers) Chairs and Non Executive Directors in 2010/11, performance related pay awards of 4% were paid to VSMs in 2010/11
See the effect of this for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the NTA; from page 10 of the NTA published annual accounts
CEO Salary
Basic pay                                    £130,000 – 135,000
Bonus                                         £5,000 – £10,000
Total pay                                    £135,000 – £140,000
CEO Pension
Cash Equivalent Transfer Value                                  £1,274,000 increase of £24,000 on 31.3.10
(Pension pot size)
Accrued annual pension at age 60                               £50,000 – £55,000 pa
Lump sum at age 60                                                    £160,000 – 165,000
According to page 1 of the accounts “The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) is a Special Health Authority within the NHS, established by Government on 1 April 2001 to improve the availability, capacity and effectiveness of treatment for drug misuse in England. The NTA is the delivery agent for the treatment arm of the Government’s drug strategy.”

My view is that given the failure of previous national drug strategies to help addicts access abstinence based treatment, get clean and move into recovery and given the coalition governments new strategy’s aim to try and do just that, can we really justify paying such sums to fat cat civil servants for 10 years of failure and to compound this by cosseting them in their old age with million pound pension pots, paying them more than the prime ministers salary in a one off lump sum and then a salary which is twice the national average, for the rest of their lives? 
This is happening; in one form another, across the DoH e.g. strategic health authorities, PCTs. Ambulance Trusts etc and I assume to all VSMs across all government departments
It’s not just the drug strategy that was in need of reform; we can see from the above example from the NTA accounts why there is a major pensions deficit and why civil service pensions are in need of serious reform 
Civil servants, like the rest of us, should be entitled to the basic state pension when they retire, in addition, all civil servants should get an additional public service pension supplement at retirement (say for a % contribution from their wages whilst in public service e.g. between 2 – 5%).  Highly paid civil servants, like NTA VSMs could also buy additional pension plans on the open market, like the rest of us have to, to keep them in the manner to which they may have become accustomed.
This simple measure, if implemented would seriously help redress to the pensions deficit and if implemented across the whole public sector may even balance the public sector pensions deficit and would ensure those entering public service really had public service in mind rather than fat cat salaries followed by a life of luxury in old age while the average public sector worker scrimps and saves to make ends meet.

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