The chief executive of the nursing regulator has received a “significant” pay rise this year, in order to bring it into “alignment” with leadership roles at other similar organisations.
Jackie Smith, the chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, received a 10% rise in basic pay of nearly £20,000 in 2016-17, according to the regulator’s latest financial reports.
“The remuneration committee concluded that a significant realignment of the chief executive’s pay was needed”
Her basic pay rose from £173,800 in 2015-16 to £192,850 for 2016-2017, reveals the NMC’s Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17, which were published on Monday.
However, when pension benefits are added, along with outstanding bonus payments and annual leave reimbursements, Ms Smith received remuneration totalling £256,027 in 2016-17.
The compares to the total of £220,284 she received in 2015-16 – giving an increase between the two years of £35,743, which is equivalent to the total annual pay of a nurse in the middle of band 7.
In its report, the regulator said the pay increase for its chief executive followed a review of its senor salary structure, which it noted had not been looked at for five years.
The review, carried out last year by the NMC’s remuneration committee, looked at external market and pay trends, and compared its own roles with those of comparator organisations.
“The review suggested that executive salaries in the NMC were generally out of alignment with median pay for comparable roles in the wider market, in some cases considerably so,” said the report.
“In considering the data, the committee determined that it was important the NMC should not become an outlier,” it noted.
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As a result of the review, the report said the committee had introduced a new framework for executive pay, which aligned “executive base salaries in the NMC to the market”.
“In the light of the executive pay review findings and new framework, the remuneration committee concluded that a significant realignment of the chief executive’s pay was needed and revised the base salary to £192,850 for 2016-17,” said the report.
It also revealed that the second and third highest paid executives at the NMC in 2016-17 were chief operating officer Alison Sansome, who received £145,000-£150,000, and fitness to practise director Sarah Page, who received £135,000-£140,000.
In total, the NMC’s executive team – including permanent and interim members – was paid £1.2m in 2016-17. However, this was down from the £1.6m paid 2015-16.
Meanwhile, the average remuneration of the NMC’s overall workforce was £29,815 during 2016-17, compared to £29,142 in 2015-16 – roughly equivalent to a nurse in the middle of band 6.
In spite of the hefty salaries being paid out by the organisation, remuneration for the NMC’s senior management team still trails that of executives at the doctors’ regulator.
Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar of the General Medical Council, received between £230,000 and £235,000 in 2015.
The chief operating officer and the deputy chief executive received £195,000 to £200,000 and the director of fitness to practise got £185,000 to £190,000.
Meanwhile, Dame Janet Finch, the NMC’s chair who is set to stand down next year, received an annual allowance of £48,000 in 2016-17, based on the requirement to spend an average of two days per week on regulator’s business.
Total allowances paid to the NMC’s 14 council members, including the chair, amounted to £177,086 in 2016-17, representing an increase on the £175,340 paid in 2015-16.
Overall, the report stated that the NMC had maintained “financial stability” during 2016-17.
Its income during the year totalled £86.1m, up from £80.2m in 2015-16, of which the vast majority, £84.9m, came from registrant fees. It maintained free reserves of £19.4m at 31 March 2017.
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However, during the year, expenditure slightly exceeded income and totalled £86.6m, an increase from the £76.3m in 2015-16.
According to the report, the increase in spending reflected a rise in fitness to practise cases, the introduction of revalidation for registrants and the regulator’s work on reviewing education standards for nursing and midwifery.
An increase in case closures was a “key driver” of an increase in expenditure related to fitness to practise, said the report, rising to to £66.4m in 2016-17 compared with £58m in 2015-16.
In addition, the report stated that “significant work” was undertaken on the development of new standards for the education and training of the future nurse, new standards for educational institutions, and an independent review of educational quality assurance.
This was “reflected” in an increase in investment in education to £3.4m in 2016-17, up from £2m in 2015-16.
Meanwhile, the introduction of revalidation since April 2016 had “partially contributed” to the increased cost of maintaining the register to £11.4m in 2016-17, up from £9.7m in 2015-16.
It spent a further £2.4m on communications and public engagement.
Meanwhile, around 60% of referrals made to the Nursing and Midwifery Council last year did not go any further, according to the latest report on the regulator’s fitness to practise activity.
However, the NMC is still falling short of its own targets to conclude cases as swiftly as possible, revealed the regulator’s Annual Fitness to Practise Report for 2016-17.
The report shows more than 3,500 reports of alleged misconduct, incompetency or wrongdoing by nurses and midwives failed to make it past the first stage in 2016-17.