28 February 2023 – Brigade managers pay update

We write to update Chairs and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners on pay negotiations within this group.

Local Government Association,

18 Smith Square, Westminster,

London, SW1P 3HZ

Telephone 020 7187 7335

e-mail: [email protected]

Employers’ Secretary, Naomi Cooke

Direct Dial: 020 7187 7335

Website: www.local.gov.uk/


National Employers

To: Chairs of Fire Authorities

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners

CC: Members of the employers’ side of the NJC

28 February 2023


1. We write to update Chairs and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners on pay negotiations within this group.


2. The joint constitution of this national negotiating body states:

  • ‘10. There is a two-track approach for determining levels of pay for Brigade Manager roles. At national level, the NJC shall review annually the level of pay increase applicable to all those covered by this agreement. In doing so, the NJC will consider affordability, other relevant pay deals and the rate of inflation at the appropriate date. Any increase agreed by the NJC will be communicated to fire authorities by circular.
  • 11. All other decisions about the level of pay and remuneration to be awarded to individual Brigade Manager roles will be taken by the local Fire and Rescue Authority, who will annually review these salary levels.’

3. In addition, not all FRAs choose to apply the NJC pay and scheme of conditions of service (Gold Book). Brigade manager posts are defined as chief fire officer, deputy chief fire officer and assistant chief fire officer (uniformed).

Pay negotiation

4. A copy of a letter from the Fire Leaders Association received by the Chair of the National Employers yesterday in connection with the national negotiation is attached. The sole employee representative body on the officers’ side of this UK-wide NJC.

5. While it would not be sensible or desirable to enter in a tit for tat public exchange of correspondence, it is felt appropriate to bring some key points to your attention.

6. The usual settlement date for this group each year is 1 January. Historically members of the National Employers have been content to backdate any pay award to the usual settlement date. For example, the pay award agreed for 2021, following a claim received on 30 April 2021, was backdated to 1 January 2021.


7. Members will be aware of the original Staff Side pay claim for the following year (2022), received on 31 March 2022, which is the basis of the current negotiation.

8. It is acknowledged that within the claim letter it referred to ‘…seeking a pay increase for all staff covered by the NJC for Brigade Managers that is commensurate with, and no less favourable than, that offered to other fire and rescue service staff (e.g. grey and green book) during 2022’. However, in conclusion and directly under the heading 2022 Pay claim, the letter was clear that the FLA was seeking ‘…an unconditional pay increase for all Brigade Managers, with effect from 1st January 2022, that is commensurate with all other fire and rescue staff in the UK.’

9. Accordingly, it would be necessary to know the outcome of negotiations for both Green and Grey Book employees in order for the National Employers to be able to identify the level of increase sought. This inevitably led to delay given the complex Green and Grey Book negotiations and the frustration expressed by the FLA in being unable to conclude negotiations for this group of employees is recognised and indeed shared by the National Employers. Communications between the employer and employee negotiators (the joint secretariat) have always remained in place.

10. The Green Book pay award for 2022, was not settled until November 2022. The same flat cash increase of £1925 was also accepted by local authority chief executives and chief officers in their respective negotiating bodies on 3 and 9 February 2022 respectively. Chief Constables covered by the Police Remuneration Review Body received an uplift of £1900. While in the view of the FLA it is not appropriate to consider wider senior manager groups the National Employers believe it is entirely appropriate to be mindful of such information.

11. The National Employers would agree with the FLA that the preference is to be able to make an offer that FLA is then able to recommend to its members and which they would feel able to accept. It was clear in joint discussion with the FLA that the flat rate £1925 agreed for Green Book (and senior local authority managers) would not meet that position. Neither would an offer of 2%. It was also uncertain whether 5% would meet those parameters and mindful of its wider responsibilities and the potential negative impact on other negotiations of rejection that had to be a key factor for National Employer considerations.

12. In any case, the FLA revised its claim on 26 January to focus solely on Grey Book employees as a comparator group and that any multi-year offers made to such employees should also be offered to this (Gold Book) senior manager group of employees. The pay award for Grey Book staff has not yet been settled. The offer is currently the subject of NJC for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Service employees’ side consultation.

13. Turning to the partial quote in the attached letter from the FLA in reference to discussion within the joint secretariat meeting earlier this month - ‘the Employers’ had not had time to meet to discuss our pay’. To clarify, this was said specifically in the context of employers’ side meetings due to be held on 8 February. Members will recall that complex and lengthy negotiations took place that day in respect of the first meeting of the day which was connected to Grey Book employees and impending strike action. Those discussions continued long into the evening. It was not a case of being disrespectful, simply a statement of fact. The secretariat reached out to have discussions and explain the intensity of the NJC on the 9th, and immediately looked to agree dates for further negotiations as soon as the National Employers were able to next meet. The National Employers met the following week, and discussions took place again within the joint secretariat as a consequence. Such meetings are confidential and it would therefore not be appropriate to release further details of the discussion at this time although it is now necessary to say it was left that FLA would consider the matters discussed and we would meet again. Following a further request from the employers’ secretariat, that meeting has been scheduled. In the interim the attached letter has arrived which in addition to the general points some of which are picked up above, sets out the usual steps in respect of registering a dispute.

14. The National Employers will meet shortly to consider the attached letter, joint secretariat discussion and next steps.

15. The National Employers remain committed to resolving this issue as soon as possible and are confident this remains possible.

Yours faithfully,

Sarah Ward

Acting Employers’ Secretary

Fire Leaders Association letter - 27 February