Local authority pay and grading structures
This article looks at the pay structure for local authority employees, set out in the National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the Green Book).
Pay and the national negotiating bodies
For the majority of local government staff, the "core" conditions of service and the pay rates that go with individual salary scales are as negotiated in the various national negotiating bodies. Most local authority staff are conditioned to whatever is negotiated in the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services, whose general conditions of services are promulgated in its National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the Green Book).
Other national negotiating bodies exist for chief executives, chief officers, craft and allied workers, and other specialist groups such as youth and community workers. In particular, pay arrangements for chief executives and chief officers are subject to a large degree of local discretion within an overall national framework.
National pay rates
Responsibility for the determination of actual pay rates and/or scales for most local authority employees rests with individual authorities, although for some sectors such as fire-fighters and teachers prescribed national scales exist.
The majority of local government employees are employed on the terms and conditions set out in the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services - National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the Green Book). This incorporates a pay spine, which is subject to national negotiation and from which authorities can construct their own pay scale.
See National Joint Council for Local Government Services pay spine for the current national pay scale, along with the previous pay scales.
Incorporation of the Green Book Implementation Agreement into contracts of employment
The National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services was established in 1997 and its general conditions of service promulgated in its National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the Green Book). The Green Book applies national agreements in respect of pay and grading, unless and until they are superseded by local arrangements. Within the Green Book there is an Implementation Agreement, clause 12.2 of which states that local authorities should review their local grading structures with the full involvement of recognised trade unions. The local grades, using national spinal column points, supersede the national grading provisions and scales referred to in part 3 of the Green Book.
In Griffiths and another v Salisbury District Council  All ER (D) 104 (Feb) CA the Court of Appeal held that a new local pay and grading structure agreed under the Green Book Implementation Agreement was incorporated into employees' contracts of employment.
Pay and benefits and the principles of reasonableness
Although some local authorities provide leased cars to some staff and may make benefits such as health insurance available to staff, this is the exception rather than the rule. This is partly because of public perception about the expenditure of public money on staff benefits, and partly because of the need for local authorities to adhere to the "Wednesbury principles", ie the principles of reasonableness set out in Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation  1 KB 223 CA. In Wednesbury the court held that it could interfere with the exercise of discretion by a local authority as being unreasonable if, having regard to the governing statute and the nature of the subject matter, the authority had taken into account matters that it ought not to take into account; had refused or neglected to take into account matters that it ought to take into account; or had come to a conclusion so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could ever have come to it. To give a benefit such as health insurance without sound reasons and evidence that it was essential for the recruitment and retention of staff might well be deemed unreasonable.