Skip navigation

Modernising pay in the UK public services: trends and implications

Modernising pay in the UK public services: trends and implications

Perkins, Stephen J. and White, Geoff (2010) Modernising pay in the UK public services: trends and implications. Human Resource Management Journal, 20 (3). pp. 244-257. ISSN 0954-5395 (Print), 1748-8583 (Online) (doi:

Full text not available from this repository.


The emerging character of the UK government's public sector pay reforms during the second and third (New) Labour terms of office is reviewed and contextualised. Three settings are examined where pay reform has been actively employed – with the accent on harmonisation, simplification and devolution of practice, with the express intention of restoring public service workforce morale, while improving services to clients – namely, local government, the National Health Service and the Higher Education sector. The evidence is interpreted as illustrating undoubted change, but also significant areas where progress has been less than intended, measured against the government's original programme goals. Equal pay considerations appear to have dominated all three projects reviewed: the failure to date of public sector managements to capitalise on opportunities the new pay architecture affords them to change local working practices may be attributed to a combination of factors discussed in the article. These have given rise to tensions as efforts have been pursued to transplant private sector pay techniques, somewhat hastily in some cases, without due consideration of the institutional context within which public services and proximal institutions function.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] First published online: 17 May 2010. [2] Issue published online: 17 June 2010. [3] Published in print: July 2010. [4] Human Resource Management Journal, (2010), Vol. 20, (3), pp. 244–257.
Uncontrolled Keywords: pay reform, public sector, UK, public services, local government, NHS, higher education sector
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 15:50

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item