Competition and Reform: Devolved government and public sector pay setting

Robert Francis Elliott, D Bell, Anthony Scott

Research output: Book/ReportOther Report


Well motivated and skilled workers are needed to deliver improved public services, and pay levels are a critical ingredient in recruiting and retaining them. For the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, public sector pay is the single biggest item of expenditure. The efficiency with which this money is spent has considerable implications for the ability of the devolved governments to deliver successful policy initiatives. In 2003 the UK government announced proposals to make the public service pay system more responsive to regional labour market conditions. This research led by the University of Aberdeen examined the competitiveness of the public sector across local and regional labour markets, and the scope for local flexibility in pay setting arrangements for public employees. It is a contribution to a re-appraisal of the appropriateness of the present pay-setting systems.
The project, part of the ESRC’s Devolution and Constitutional Change programme,
was led by Prof RF Elliott of the University of Aberdeen with Prof DNF Bell and Prof
A Scott. It involved extensive analysis of labour market data and a postal survey of public sector organisations. There was also an examination of international experience in Australia and New Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSwindon, United Kingdom
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005

Bibliographical note

Report for The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


  • competition
  • reform
  • devolved government
  • public sector
  • pay setting
  • local labour markets
  • regional labour markets
  • pay inequality


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