Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), has qualified his audit opinion on the 2012-13 Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum accounts in relation to the part of the Museum staff’s pay award for which it did not have ministerial approval.
The RAF Museum is a Registered Charity and an executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). HM Treasury’s Civil Service Pay Guidance sets out the details of the ‘pay remit process’ and other pay setting arrangements for civil servants throughout the civil service, including Non-Departmental Public Bodies.
The Museum has had delegated responsibility for its pay arrangements since 2000, but agrees a pay remit with the MoD on an annual basis. The approved pay remit limited the pay increase the RAF Museum could pay its employees to 1 per cent for the year. The Museum has awarded its pay rises using a market rate formula which benchmarks staff salaries, and as a consequence, awarded a further £66,000 to its 179 staff under this scheme. The Museum had incorrectly assumed that the operation of these market increases was included within the 2012-13 approval.
The combined impact of both the approved and market rate increases resulted in an excess of £66,000 above the £50,000 amount approved in the Museum’s pay remit. As a consequence the C&AG concluded it did not conform to the authorities that govern it and is, therefore, irregular.
The Museum and its Board of Trustees will review its pay award process over the coming year, in liaison with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that appropriate authorities for future increases are obtained.