Performance Related Pay?

We have often speculated about the zeal with which LAA auditors undertake their work – particularly with regard to costs audits. For sometime we have joked that they have recoupment targets, even timeshare style sales bells in their offices for whenever a nil assessment is made.

Finally my colleague Dean wrote an FoI request, for me to send to the MoJ, it is reproduced in bold at the start of the final reply. And what an interesting reply it is.

In summary your Contract Manager is in line for a £1,600 – £1,800 “one-off non-consolidated performance related award”, bonus to you and me, if they achieve an “outstanding” rating at their annual appraisal. (Somewhere between 10 and 25% of LAA staff should achieve this rating annually).

Factors which impact on this assessment are:

  • Delivery of regional KPIs
  • Minimising net core testing errors
  • Ensuring civil bill rejects are under 15%

There are many firms who will now have a better insight into why they were battered over the latter in recent times.

Most interesting however is this metric:

maximising recoveries (joint with Operational Assurance) in the above areas. This will include all activities by CMs that will result in a CWA recovery amendment being made, to include CM visits, referrals for an onsite audit, referrals for a PA file review to be undertaken and Holistic Provider Management activities. (emphasis added)

So when we have flippantly commented that they are chasing money like it was out of their own back pocket – we were not very far from the mark. Every nil assessment or equivalent a CM makes is a potential deposit in the holiday fund.

Firms often wonder “is it me or them?” following a negative audit result, this might go someway to answering that question. It perhaps also explains some of the hostility we receive in the process of doggedly protecting our client’s positions. You will certainly never look at any audit result in the same way again.

Revisit these 4 posts, if you have time, and answer the rhetorical questions raised in the light of this disclosure.

Audit Tales, audit tales 2, audit takes 3, audit tales 4.

In more serious terms, does anyone agree that this creates a direct conflict with the Civil Service code?

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4 comments on “Performance Related Pay?

  • It sure does create a conflict!

    It also explains why they visit firms on a previously unseen regularity

  • Although the top 10% of CMs are expected to achieve an ‘outstanding’ performance raring, the reality is that nobody ever does. Meeting objectives is not sufficient, they need to be continually exceeded every month. In addition to day to day Contract management and the CMs project lead activities, an ‘outstanding’ raring can only be achieved if you do the job at the level above yours on top of continually exceeding your objectives. I worked at the LAA and know very few CMs that achieved outstanding.

    The reality is that post the latest round of Government led redundancies, many CMs are forced to work weekends to keep on top of the workload and rated as ‘improvement’ required. Some are even on rigerous performance improvement plans. So the next time your CM visits, please don’t think they are trying to pay for their next holiday when all they are trying to do is be fair and keep their job in a demanding environment with the smallest resource in the history of legal aid.

  • ‘outstanding’ would be dependent on an ability to spell the word ‘rigorous’

  • Fully accept the double-edged sword here – that it is used to achieve “improvement” or even to manage out “fair” CMs. I also always explain that I may well have a jaundiced view of things given my caseload involves the negative outcomes of audits.

    That said CMs approach, attitude and fairness has dramatically changed in recent times, not for the good, and this scheme must form part of that cultural shift within the organisation. I certainly do not hold individual CMs responsible for this rather management who allow unfair and wrong decision, such as those cited in the main post, to continue.

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