Office of Manpower Economics

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The UK Office of Manpower Economics is a civil service secretariat which provides support to the Pay Review Bodies, charged with recommending pay levels for more than a million public servants. It was created in 1971 and its main role today involves the collection of evidence from employer and employee organizations and the carrying out of original research into public-service pay levels, pay systems, and other aspects of remuneration. The OME is the latest in a series of specialist agencies that have provided research which can inform the setting of fair salaries for public servants, and much of its work is concerned with the question of the comparability of public-sector pay with pay in the private sector. The assumptions underlying its creation and operation have been, first, that the absence of a functioning labour market for certain groups of public servants requires the use of an administrative mechanism to determine pay and, second, that a consensus about appropriate levels of pay for doctors, dentists, military personnel, judges, nurses, and teachers can best be created on the basis of objective research into comparative pay levels and related issues. The OME, therefore, reflects the distinctiveness of pay determination within the public services but also the need to maintain ‘fair’ levels of pay which will secure an adequate supply of motivated employees and minimize the risk of industrial action in politically sensitive public services.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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