The nursing regulator’s council members will see their annual allowances rise to £14,724, while its chair will receive a one-off payment to reflect additional hours worked in the past year, and at a higher rate.
At a Nursing and Midwifery Council meeting yesterday, it was agreed that its council members should receive more money to bring their payments into line with their counterparts at other regulators.
“The demands of the current chair role have necessitated the chair working in excess of the formal two-day time commitment”
NMC council papers
NMC council members currently receive £13,250 a year for committing three days a month, which was agreed following a review in 2016.
A more recent review by the NMC’s independent pay panel in October 2017 found that since 2016 the role specification for council members had been revised and had “brought renewed focus on issues of responsibility and accountability”.
However, there had been “no material changes” to the role or time required to carry out the job, according to the panel’s report included in the latest council papers.
The panel reiterated that the size and complexity of the NMC, the public-facing nature of council members’ roles, and the challenging environment in which the organisation operated, justified an allowance in line with other similar bodies.
Based on the fact other regulators were paying higher daily rates for their council members on average, the panel recommended an 11% increase, to £14,724. The NMC council agreed to the new rate yesterday, which will be backdated to April 2017.
“[The NMC remuneration committee] did think [today’s proposals] were reasonable, proportionate and evidence-based”
In addition, the independent panel recommended the NMC chair’s daily rate should be increased, after the group found it was falling behind the average payments made to chairs at other healthcare regulators (£485 a day).
It said an increase should be “competitive” and “recognise the time and energy invested by the office holder”.
At the regulators’ council meeting yesterday, it was also agreed that outgoing NMC chair Janet Finch should receive an annual payment of £63,050 for her work between April 2017 and March – and that this should also be applied until she leaves the post at the end of April 2018.
The chair currently receives £48,000 a year, based on two days a week, but the council said an increase was needed partly to reflect the extra half day of voluntary work each week that the chair had committed to in the past year.
The uplift was also based on a higher daily rate of pay, to bring the allowance into line with other chairs of healthcare regulatory bodies. The council agreed to raise this by 5%, from £462 to £485 a day, noting it had not been changed since 2009.
Last year, the council agreed that when it appointed a new chair – from May 2018 – the post-holder would be required to work three days a week on a daily rate of £500, or £78,000 a year.
“The council itself has previously recognised that the demands of the current chair role have necessitated the chair working in excess of the formal two-day time commitment,” said NMC council papers.
“This in part informed its decision to move to an increased time commitment of three days for the new chair role,” they added.
“I am extremely uneasy about the model that bases what we get on comparison with others”
The “one-off” payment for the incumbent chair would also recognise her “significant and valued” contribution to the NMC, and would provide a “fairer and more consistent approach in relation to the increased allowance proposed for council members,” said the council papers.
The council’s decisions were made based on recommendations by the panel, which comprised former senior HR director Bronwen Curtis – who is also a member of the NHS pay review body – former local council finance director Keith Luck and former chief nursing officer for Wales, Professor Rosemary Kennedy.
Commenting on the recommendations about council members’ pay before the regulator agreed to the changes, NMC council member Derek Pretty said: “I am extremely uneasy about the model that bases what we get on comparison with others.
“Having served on remuneration committees in a variety of environments, what one has seen is a ‘piggyback’ model where things keep rising up and up,” he said.
Mr Pretty suggested that, in the future, assessment of NMC pay should not be made solely on comparison with other regulators.
In response, another council member, Stephen Thornton, said: “It is incumbent upon us to develop some kind of criteria that we put to an independent panel.”
“When the [NMC remuneration committee] looked at [today’s proposals] we did think they were reasonable, proportionate and evidence-based,” he added.