Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Annual Report and Accounts - Director Renumeration

Date released
15 August 2019
Request number
201906014
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

Please advise me, in respect of your Chief Executive’s remuneration what a “pivotal role allowance” is, and please can you provide all documents, emails and other correspondence that relates to the considerations and agreement that this Allowance would be payable. I understand that some documents may need to be slightly redacted.

Further can you advise how many other Directors of ONR have claimed an allowance for missed leave by year since ONR was formed.

Information released

 We have addressed each of your specific requests in turn below.

Please advise me, in respect of your Chief Executive’s remuneration what a “pivotal role allowance” is.

A pivotal role allowance (PRA) is aimed at retaining members of the senior civil service (SCS) in highly specialised roles and those delivering major projects. They were introduced in 2013. More information on the control process for pivotal role allowances can be found in Attachment 2 of the Practitioner Guidance on SCS Pay Award for 2019/20

All PRA applications require the approval of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the relevant Minister for implementation.

ONR’s Chief Executive received an additional HM Government-agreed performance related payment that is equivalent to a SCS PRA. The payment was agreed by HM Government as part of ONR’s Chief Executive’s contract re-negotiation in June 2018.

Please can you provide all documents, emails and other correspondence that relates to the considerations and agreement that this Allowance would be payable.

We can confirm that ONR holds the information that falls within the scope of your request.

The relevant documents we have identified include information relating to the allowance paid in 2018/19 and are held in ONR Remuneration and Nominations Committee minutes and reports. This committee has oversight over all matters relating to the remuneration and performance of Executive Board Members and the framework for SCS equivalent staff. It is also responsible for making recommendations to the ONR Board and ONR’s sponsor department, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), on the appointment of the Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector.

In addition, the ONR HR Director holds a small amount of correspondence with ONR’s sponsor department, DWP, and HM Treasury regarding the PRA application.

However, we are unable to disclose these documents, as if released we believe it is likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. This material is being withheld under Sections 36(2)(b) and 36(2)(c) of the FOIA. The purpose of these exemptions is to protect the free and frank provision of advice, the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, and, where release of the information would prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

We have sought the opinion of the Minister of State at the DWP, who has found that the exemption is engaged.

As this is a qualified exemption, we are required to balance the public interest between disclosure and non-disclosure. We have therefore applied the Public Interest Test, as set out below:

Sections 36(2)(b) and 36(2)(c) FOIA – Prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs

Factors for release

Factors against release

Section 36(2)(b)(i) would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice

Disclosure would be likely to inhibit the provision of advice from ONR Remuneration and Nominations Committee by causing a ‘chilling effect’ on the committee members’ ability to provide thorough and robust advice on the retention or recruitment of SCS staff based on the wider interests of the UK civil nuclear industry, ONR’s own organisational and strategic planning, and the public interest.

Section 36(2)(b)(ii) would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation

The information relates to the sharing of information and views within ONR’s Remuneration and Nominations Committee, which needs to be carried out in a ‘safe space’ so as to provide a secure opportunity to consider, discuss, and advise on strategy and options related to the remuneration and performance of ONR Executive Board Members and SCS equivalent staff. Disclosure of documents which relate to the on-going development of internal policy of remuneration and performance issues would inhibit ONR’s Remuneration Committee to develop ideas, debate strategic issues facing ONR, and reach decisions away from external interference and distraction;

Disclosure of the requested information would be likely to inhibit the ability of ONR’s Remuneration and Nominations Committee members to express themselves openly, honestly and completely, or to explore extreme options, when giving their views as part of the deliberation process in the future. Inhibiting this process may thus impair the quality of decision making by the ONR Remuneration and Nominations Committee.

Section 36(2)(c) would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs

Disclosure would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. As set out in in Attachment 2 of the Practitioner Guidance on SCS Pay Award for 2019/20, any proposals for a PRA must meet four qualifying criteria. These include where the role is critical to delivering the strategic goals of the organisation, and where there is potential to make a disproportionately large impact on the business if left unfilled. As the PRA is linked to the Chief Executive’s performance in ‘delivering the strategic goals of ONR’, disclosing further information about the allowance would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs for reasons connected to ONR’s strategic goals as an independent, effective and efficient regulator of the nuclear industry.

Conclusion

After careful consideration of the factors set out above, ONR has concluded that the information should be withheld under Sections 36(2)(b) and 36(2)(c) of FOIA. Release of these documents is not in the public interest as it would be likely to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. Office for Nuclear Regulation.

How many other Directors of ONR have claimed an allowance for missed leave by year since ONR was formed?

The information related to this request is already available in the public domain and therefore falls within the Section 21 exemption of the FOIA. To be of assistance, we have set out some relevant background information below and have included the relevant website links.

The facility for staff to sell annual leave was introduced to ONR with effect from 1 April 2018. Since this date, two Directors have claimed payment for untaken leave; one case during 2018/19 and another during 2017/18. The details of each of these claims are detailed in ONR’s published Annual Report and Accounts for 2017/18 and 2018/19  in the remuneration tables (on pages 106-107 note (f), and 113-114 note (e) respectively).

Exemptions applied

Sections 21, 36(2)(b) and 36(2)(c).

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable

Yes.