Skip Navigation Links.

Terms of Reference for the Public Service Benchmarking Body


In the second Public Service Pay Agreement under Sustaining Progress the parties agreed that the Benchmarking Body would carry out a benchmarking review to report in the second half of 2007. The parties have agreed the following terms of reference for the Benchmarking Body.

Timing and scope of the examination

The Public Service Benchmarking Body is asked to examine the pay and jobs of specified grades and to produce a Report containing recommendations on the pay rates for these grades in the second half of 2007.

As in the previous benchmarking exercise that took place between 2000 and 2002, the exercise should be a coherent and broadly based comparison with jobs and pay rates across the economy.

As in the previous exercise the Body will examine the roles, duties and responsibilities of jobs in the public service and in the rest of the economy and not just the pay rates applicable to jobs with similar titles, and superficially similar roles, in the private sector. 


The Body should conduct in-depth and comprehensive research and analysis of pay levels in the private sector on the following basis:

  • Overall pay levels in the two sectors as well as pay rates for particular groups( such as clerical/administrative staff and technicians) and other identifiable grouping (such as graduate recruits);
  • The overall pattern of pay rates in the private sector and employments across a range of type, size or sector;
  • The way reward systems are structured in the private sector.

As previously, the Body, in reaching its recommendations should have regard to:

  • The need to recruit, retain and motivate staff with the qualifications, skills and flexibility required to exercise their different responsibilities;
  • The need to support ongoing modernisation of the public service;
  • The need to ensure equity between the employees in both the public and private sectors and,
  • The need to underpin the country’s competitiveness and continued economic prosperity

In this work the Body should have regard to the differences between the public service and the private sector and between the various public service groups within its remit in working conditions, the organization of work, perquisites, and conditions of employment and other relevant benefits, including security of tenure and superannuation benefits.

The Body should also consider any issues arising from any third party recommendations concerning benchmarking and any group on List A since the Body’s first report, including, specifically, Labour Court Recommendations Nos. 17526 and 17805.


As was the case previously the Body should have regard to the agreement made under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness and reiterated in Sustaining Progress that cross-sectoral relativities are incompatible with the benchmarking process. Within the sectors internal relativities is a relevant criterion for the Body to take into account but the existence of any traditional or historic relativities should not prevent the Body from recommending what it considers are the appropriate rates of pay for any particular job.

Public Service Modernisation

Continued co-operation with change and modernisation has been a feature of previous national agreements and, in the context of Sustaining Progress, detailed Action Plans were agreed in each sector.  This reflects the ongoing nature of the work of modernisation of the public service to meet present day needs and future demands. In that context change and modernisation is a continuing requirement of a modern public service.  It is, of itself, not a basis for giving an improvement in pay or conditions.


Subject to these terms of reference the Benchmarking Body will determine its own procedures but these should provide for relevant employers and trade unions to have the opportunity to make written and oral submissions to the Body.

The last exercise gathered large quantities of data and developed a job weighting system used by the Body.  In doing its work the Body may draw on the previous work done in this area and use, as it sees fit, the existing database and methodology for comparing jobs.

The level of detail to be provided by the Body in its report is a matter for the Body itself taking into account any confidentiality constraints and its own judgement on the level of detail that should be provided.  However, the Body should seek to ensure the optimum level of transparency consistent with the efficient and effective operation of the benchmarking process, regarding the factors and their import, which the Body took into account in determining the appropriate pay levels.


The implementation of the outcome of the benchmarking process is a matter for the parties and will be discussed by them in the context of discussions on whatever arrangements on pay and conditions are put in place on the expiry of the current Sustaining Progress pay agreement.