Total reward

10 December 2009

A view from PCS in the Highways Agency.

Many of you have been asking questions about “Your Reward” such as

"what is it exactly?"

"is it in place of a pay rise?"

"do I have to let marketing companies have my personal data?"

"will it be of benefit to me and how?"

Members have reported that some DDs (Divisional Directors) could not answer questions about "Your Reward" during agency Briefings so we thought we’d fill in the gaps.

The original plan was that all staff in the Department would have access to a Total Reward Statement so that we could all see just how lucky we are to have had below inflation pay rises year after year. This would include details of your pension, development (yes! Development is now part of your reward) and paid holidays.

Along with this would be flexible benefits - which is discounts at certain stores, discounts for buses and, through salary sacrifice, the purchase of child care vouchers and bicycles (which are things already negotiated for you by PCS).

None of this has been agreed with the Unions and we have some serious concerns…..

Potential Risks to Members

PCS advice can be found on this website. Our main concern is the security and use of members’ personal data by a private company. There are clear and mandatory Government policies on providing personal data to third parties. These require a Privacy Impact Assessment to be carried out before contracts are signed, yet despite several requests we have yet to be provided with a copy of the PIA for “Your Reward”. The PIN and Password needed to access the site was sent out to members yesterday in an unprotected e-mail, meaning that anyone with Proxy rights could have access to your details. DfT have also asked us not to tell you what data has been provided to Benefex because that would increase the risk of data being mis-used!

There is another concern that member’s may unwittingly end up out of pocket. The very small print shows that credit card transactions incur a 2% handling fee.

All in all we believe it is much safer not to trust your data to this company and if you want discounted shopping then you could always make use of the offers available to you through PCS+.

If you are not comfortable about this a draft letter to DfT asking for your data not to be passed to a private company is available on this website.  We believe it is your right under the Data Protection Act to insist that your personal data is not provided to a third party without your permission. We also believe that loss of this data could cause “significant distress” which means that under the Government’s own Security Policy your data should not be transferred outside the GSI.


On a related topic, members have in the past been threatened with disciplinary action for using air miles or other bonus scheme points accumulated by using credit cards on Agency business. By co-incidence this is featured on page 23 of the latest edition of Network (HA’s In House Magazine) where HRS (Human Resource Services) advises members that they must not accrue Nectar and Tesco points when filling up official vehicles. The reasoning is that a public body cannot be seen to be favouring one retailer over another. How then can it be OK to do so by issuing shopping vouchers for specific stores in lieu of pay, as part of your reward package?

We get the impression that they really don’t know their right hand from their left.


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