The DWP’s latest round of staff bonuses is a ‘disgusting disgrace’

Esther McVey smirking and the DWP logo
Steve Topple

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the figures for its latest round of yearly bonuses. If you’re a claimant, or anyone affected by Esther McVey’s department, it’s grim reading.

The DWP: it has form

DWP staff have both monthly bonuses (referred to here as “in-year”) and an end-of-year one. It breaks them down into bonuses for “delegated pay grade” (regular staff) and “senior civil servants”.

As The Canary previously reported, for 2016/17, the DWP’s total bonus bill was just shy of £43m – almost £1.7m higher than it previously reported. But with estimated staff gifts, The Canary makes this figure £47.2m. This included for regular staff:

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  • £5.3m of in-year bonuses to 11.5% of its staff. This is a median bonus of £100 each.
  • £36.9m in end-of-year bonuses to nearly 92% of its staff. This is a median bonus of £500 each.

It also gave out 113,133 gift vouchers to staff, with a total of median values of £4.24m (a Canary estimate).

But now, the DWP has released its end-of-year estimated bonus figure for 2017/18.

Rewarding failure

It shows staff will be sharing around a £36m bonus pot this year. The total figure (£36.4m) does include the in-year bonuses for August; for 2016/17, these amounts were on average around £440,000. So it’s safe to say that around £36m will be the end-of-year bonus figures.

While that is less than 2016/17, the DWP has not said how many staff got this. So it may end up that the average payment per staff member is higher (if there is less staff).

The DWP previously told The Canary:

In line with Civil Service pay guidance, DWP rewards employees for their performance through either end of year… [bonuses] and/or in-year payments. Employees who have attained agreed performance levels… may receive an end of year non-consolidated payment…

“Disgrace”

However much the bonuses are, the fact the DWP is paying them out at all is a hot topic. Writer and Universal Credit claimant Alex Tiffin told The Canary:

The fact that DWP staff are getting bonuses while claimants survive on food banks actually disgusts me.

The system is falling apart at the seams. Yet the DWP is rewarding staff? For what? Being number one ‘punisher’?

£36m could have fed some of the four million who couldn’t afford food last year. It could stop single parents and families losing £2,400 a year under Universal Credit…

They’ve money for bonuses or deals with Citizens Advice. But not the claimants literally wasting away because of their cuts. It’s a disgrace

As The Canary has documented, the DWP has been mired in scandal this year. From Universal Credit and legal actions; the deaths of thousands of claimants and a total of five damning international reports. The DWP has swerved from one crisis to another. So it begs the question: should it be giving out bonuses at all, when it’s performance is so awful? Many people may well say no.

Get Involved!

Follow Tiffin on Alex Twitter and support his website Universal Credit Sufferer.

Featured image via Conservatives – YouTube and UK government – Wikimedia 

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Steve Topple