20 March 2023 – Pay offer – NJC for brigade managers of fire and rescue services (NJC)

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



Directors of HR

Members of the employers’ side of the NJC

20 March 2023


1. The circular issued on 6 March 2023 advised Chairs and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners that the officers’ side of the NJC for Brigade Managers (Fire Leaders Association) had rejected the employers’ side pay offer in respect of a national pay award for 2022 and 2023.

2. Employers’ side members have now met and considered a response and have decided to improve the initial offer (set out on 4 March). The improved offer involves removing the caps on pay awards that were part of the original offer and offering a percentage rate increase as follows:

  • A 4 per cent increase on basic pay with effect from 1 January 2022.
  • A 3.5 per cent increase on basic pay with effect from 1 January 2023.

3. A copy of the offer letter is below.

4. We will keep you informed as matters progress.

Yours faithfully,

Gill Gittins

Assistant Employers’ Secretary


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

Simon Shilton

Officers’ Side Secretary

National Joint Council for Brigade Managers

20 March 2023


Dear Simon,

Thank you for your letter dated 6 March 2023.

The National Employers were disappointed that we could not reach agreement on the pay offer made to you on 4 March 2023. It therefore reconvened to discuss these issues and a decision was reached to make an improved offer to you. In doing so, the National Employers are keen to underline the following key points:

  • Attention and consideration has consistently been made to the issues the FLA have represented during our discussions and in your letter to me. While the Employers side have set out the reasons for delay in these negotiations, it is accepted that delay can lead to frustration. We are pleased to be making progress now. 
  • The National Employers are also clear about their appreciation for the work that Brigade Managers do and the value that they bring not just to the fire and rescue service, but to their local communities. 
  • The National Employers are keen to reach an agreement with you as soon as possible, to move forward and to be able to focus on building a sustainable Fire Service, championing the principles captured within the Core Code of Ethics and Fit for the Future.

I move now to the details in the improved offer. 

Our previous offer contained a mechanism to cap pay increases at £5,000 and £4,000 in each of the respective pay review years.

Having taken into account the views represented in your letter, the National Employers have agreed to remove those caps from our offer. This means, that the National Employers wish to make an offer to increase basic pay by:

  • 4% (backdated to 1 Jan 2022)
  • 3.5% (backdated to 1 Jan 2023).

The National Employers make this offer with all sincerity and emphasise that this is an extremely fair offer given the current economic circumstances in the UK and taking into consideration comparison with other public sector roles and their levels of increase in recent years. You will be aware that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, local authority senior managers agreed a pay award of £1925 across the board for 2022.

This offer would undoubtedly result in significant increases, and we would suggest it may be helpful to take account of this, and to consider comparators elsewhere across both Local Government and indeed the wider public sector. 

Based on the last survey figures (2020) the average basic pay across the UK for chief fire officers in all fire and rescue authorities at that time was £143,874 and average gross pay was £147,137. Among deputy chief fire officers, average basic pay was £120,147 and average gross pay was £121,770, and for assistant chief fire officers the average basic pay was £106,507 and average gross pay was £108,946. The offer, if accepted, would therefore lift the average salaries to:

  Basic pay p.a. 2022 Financial increase 2022 Basic pay p.a. 2023 Financial increase 2023 Total financial increase
Chief Fire Officer £149,629 £5,755 £154,866 £5,237 £10,992
Deputy Chief Fire Officer £124,953 £4,806 £129,326 £4,373 £9,179
Assistant Chief Fire Officer £110,767 £4,260 £114,644 £3,877 £8,137


I recognise it may be an unpalatable point for some of your members, but these roles are paid at the higher end for many public sector roles and that does mean that the optics matter. We absolutely recognise that this does not mean that the cost-of-living challenge isn’t felt by those carrying out these roles, but the National Employers must take account of the public purse in these negotiations. It cannot be justifiable, that at a time the public themselves have had below inflation increases and most are managing on much lower salaries, to see cumulative cash increases of over £10k – whatever the significance and importance of that role. We know, for example, there are CFOs who will be looking at that level of increase from this offer and that this will be highly unusual in the current pay climate, particularly within the public sector. With that in mind, the employers simply cannot justify making an offer of any greater generosity. 

Reaching agreement on this offer will immediately uplift the pay of your members by significant amounts, and we urge you to reach agreement with us, and to allow all parties to move forward.

As per our last letter, it is also incumbent upon us to remind you that the Gold Book does allow for a twin track approach to pay – this means, that a further increase could be applied following a local review should an individual FRA choose to do so, albeit – it remains the view of the National Employers that this would be a significant national increase. But perhaps it is useful for your members to keep that in mind when they consider this offer. 

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Ward

Acting Employers’ Secretary