11 department chiefs pocket £1.3m in wages
The heads of Northern Ireland's 11 government departments received more than £1.3m between them in salaries last year, it has been disclosed.
It has also emerged that the total value of bonuses paid to the top civil servants has climbed by more than 100% in just four years.
The figures have been provided to MLAs by Finance Minister Nigel Dodds, in response to a written Assembly question. They relate to remuneration received by the permanent secretaries — the most senior officials — of the 11 devolved departments.
This includes the Head of the Civil Service, who is permanent secretary of the central Stormont department, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. Replying to a question from DUP colleague Simon Hamilton, Mr Dodds stated that the total salary amount paid to the permanent secretaries came to £1,333,302 in 2007/08.
Bonuses paid to the officials in the 12-month period came to £111,500. In 2004/05, the bonuses added up to £54,800, the minister revealed. The next year, the bonus total came to £67,000 while in 2006/07 it was £86,000.
The jump in bonuses from £54,800 to £111,500 over the four years represents an increase of 103%.
Some of the departmental permanent secretary post-holders changed in 2007/08, due to reorganisation and retirement.
The Assembly's Finance and Personnel Committee called last month for a rethink on bonuses paid to senior civil servants in Northern Ireland, a wider grouping than the permanent secretaries. It said it was “alarmed” to note that senior civil servants here “earn over 22% more than their private sector equivalents”.
The Stormont committee said that “by contrast” junior grades in the province’s civil service are “paid on a par with those in equivalent private sector positions”.
Figures released last month showed that there were 209 senior civil servants in Northern Ireland in 2008, out of a total staff headcount of 24,501.
The 24,501 figure includes staff in the 11 departments and their off shoot agencies.