OVERSIGHT of highly paid civil service roles is ‘lacking’, a former Senator has said following a Government of Jersey job advert for a cycling officer being listed with a near-£70,000 salary.
Ben Shenton said that taxpayers were becoming increasingly frustrated at the salaries being offered for certain public sector roles.
Mr Shenton said the Isle of Man looked to recruit someone for a similar role in 2021 – with the post being advertised as an ‘active travel liaison officer’ – but offered a limited, two-year contract and a salary of between £22,937 and £28,053.
‘This is a specific job to reach a specific target,’ Mr Shenton said. ‘In no way is this a long-term appointment at this rate of pay.’
And he pointed out the cycling officer role was actually one of three linked positions the government wanted to fill, all in the same salary band. The other vacancies include the role of sustainable transport projects engineer and senior transport planner development control.
‘When you review public sector jobs in Jersey you need to add around 20% to cover the generous pension contribution and employer social security. The cost to the taxpayer is always 20% higher than the advertised rate,’ Mr Shenton said.
He added: ‘The band on the cycling officer is up to £69,137. Therefore, the cost of these three roles could be around £230,000.
‘The oversight, which is so lacking, is supposed to come from the politicians we elect, particularly the ministers. The expansion of the public sector, and the over remuneration of some positions, not only causes dissatisfaction within the public sectors in areas that are not over paid, but also inevitably leads to higher taxation and larger government debt.’
The official job description calls for someone with an engineering background. ‘You should have experience working with active travel promotion or projects, education to degree level and an academic foundation in transport planning or highway engineering,’ the advert for the Grade 12 civil service role, offering a salary of between £62,905 and £69,137 per year, states.
Highlighting the role on his Facebook page, Mr Shenton asked whether this was a prudent use of taxpayers’ money, drawing over 80 comments to his post, which was also shared widely.
‘That’s crazy,’ noted one commenter. ‘Remind me, how much does a nurse earn?’
When asked for comment, a government spokesperson referred to the detailed specifications for the role.
‘For clarity, the job is not about teaching people to cycle, but about supporting the Government of Jersey Sustainable Transport Policy as a senior engineer, furthering schemes for better cycling infrastructure and contributing to the behavioural change required to reach net-zero emissions.
‘The post is for a professionally qualified transport planner, highway or civil engineer at a chartered level. The role will specifically lead on the development and delivery of infrastructure projects being identified through the Active Travel Plan,’ the spokesperson said.
But Mr Shenton said Jersey seemed to be continually paying inflated salaries for civil service roles.
‘I have not only noticed a number of public sector jobs that are paid more than the private sector, but also jobs that pay far more than public sectors elsewhere,’ he said. ‘Furthermore, on higher-paid appointments we are using London-based employment agencies, which is a vote of no confidence in the abilities of Jersey-based employment and HR companies.’