Lapses in payments risk further undermining public confidence in P&R
IT WAS with considerable concern that the Retired States Employees’ Association learned of the inability of the States on 30 November to meet its obligation to make timely payments of salaries and pensions due to approximately 5,000 people, including retired public service employees. It brought to mind the incident in January this year when the annual increase in pensions failed to make its way into the bank accounts of pensioners on the due date and was later paid at the end of February. This time it seemed to be the whole monthly pension payment that was at risk. The association recognises that such lapses risk further undermining public confidence in the Policy and Resources Committee.
Regrettably, the States also failed to communicate this latest mishap immediately to those affected, many of whom, including the RSEA itself, first found out about the problem through the traditional Guernsey grapevine or social media.
The RSEA acknowledges that this serious lapse was resolved by the end of the day and our thanks go to those staff who undertook the required remedial action and to the States communications team, who responded promptly to our enquiries.
However, the association is also aware that the initial non-payment will have caused concern and inconvenience to many, including, in particular, those current employees who were affected.
The association also recognises that the impact of this kind of error might well have been more marked for some pensioners. Given that approximately 55% of public sector pensions are less than £10,000 per year, those on the most modest sums could well have found themselves under avoidable financial pressure in seeking to meet their short-term monthly outgoings.
President, Retired States Employees’ Association