Friday, November 13, 2009

Bonus for MOD officials

So civil servants at the MOD got bonuses this year (of an average of around 1000 pounds... which is hardly crazy), while we fight in Afghanistan and there are stories of shortfalls in equipment over there. This will no doubt infuriate people who have lost someone there, and that is fair, but civil servants are not politicians.

The role of a civil servant is to support the serving government to the best of their abilities to enact policy. It is not their role to decide what policy might be, and they certainly do not decide budget expenditure. It is clear that a system in which the pay of civil servants is tied to the success of the government is an extraordinarily poor one is not a good idea. This is effectively what we propose when civil servants are denied bonuses because of government decisions they could not affect (well, I'm sure they actually could, but if the system works, then they shouldn't be able to).

This is the difference between bonuses for bankers and for civil servants (other than the scale of pay). Bankers clearly failed in multiple ways, and are directly responsible (along with permissive government) for the finanical state we find ourselves in. The civil servents did their job to the best of their ability. It is NOT their fault that we are in Afganisatan or that soliders do not have the best equipment. That isn't their job. I have no idea how well they have been performing in their given roles- presumably well enough to be given bonuses.

Its a contentous issue, and one to tread carefully around, but civil servants shouldn't really be dragged into politics in this way.

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