Guernsey Press

Greater transparency on top pay at Post promised

GREATER transparency of senior pay packages and bonuses among States trading boards is on the way, the States’ Trading Supervisory Board told the States.

Last Christmas was one of Guernsey Post’s busiest on record for parcels. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost 31963150)

Quizzed by Mark Helyar, who has raised concerns about the pay and responsibilities of executives and non-executives on the trading boards, Deputy Peter Roffey said that more details would be provided in accounts in the future.

The States yesterday briefly debated and quickly approved the annual report for Guernsey Post to 31 March 2022, where the company made an operating profit of £1.6m., some £600,000 ahead of budget. It returned a dividend to the States of about £500,000.

Deputy Helyar said he believed that there were too many non-executives – typically paid about £11,000 a year – involved with the trading boards and was unhappy about the lack of clarity on the costs of directors. Now the standard rates for non-executives have been revealed by STSB, he said he wanted to go further and detail all payments to directors, including senior staff directors.

‘With independent trading bodies, where public money is being used or monopolies are being enjoyed, I do think it would be good practice for the costs of the directors as a whole to be split out,’ said Deputy Helyar.

‘I think all directors, including the executive directors of the trading entities, should have the amounts they are paid in terms of their salaries and their bonuses set out so that the public can see what they are.’

Deputy Roffey said that the deputy could ‘expect considerably more transparency coming up on that in the months ahead’.

But that would not extend to the pay rate of every individual.

‘It would be double standards of the States to expect that of the incorporated trading assets when it doesn’t do that for any of its own senior officers.

'However, there is banded information released, and it will be that sort of approach that will be taken in relation to the executive directors of the businesses.’

He reminded the States of the need to set pay at market rates to recruit executive staff capable of running successful companies, and assured the Assembly that his board maintained careful oversight of salaries and bonuses.

He also told the States that its companies get ‘supremely good value’ from their non-executive directors who are not employed.

Debate of Guernsey Post’s accounts for the year up to the end of March last year had been deferred at several recent States meeting.

Deputy Roffey told the Assembly that the company had performed well during the period under debate.

And over the past decade it had returned £20m. to the exchequer, which he described as ‘a very noble record’.

Call for cash-rich company make more use of debt funding

WITH the company’s cash reserves standing at more than £11m., Deputy Gavin St Pier argued for the use of more debt funding.

‘The extent of its working capital requirements are considerably more limited than £11.3m.,’ said Deputy St Pier.

‘Notwithstanding the distribution of dividends over the years, I am of the view that it continues to have a considerable quantum of cash on its balance sheet, some of which could be distributed to the shareholder, namely the States, who may have greater need right now.’

STSB president Deputy Peter Roffey said his board frequently held discussions with Guernsey Post about its cash reserves and took a ‘prudent’ approach.

‘I would still prefer to deal with the situation at Guernsey Post, where they have cash reserves and no debt, however atypical Deputy St Pier may feel that is, against other commercial entities, for instance Guernsey Electricity, where they are labouring under a very high debt gearing and are struggling to invest in infrastructure as a consequence,’ he said.