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Valuation Office Agency Bonus Scheme

Thursday, August 20, 2015

On the 1st August 2015 the VOA's new Bonus Scheme kicked in and it's got a lot of staff talking so we in the RCTU wanted to share this information with the rest of HMRC and see if this model is better/worse or around about the same in HMRC.

Feedback and input was put into this by Staff in and Managers in the VOA to the People Group which was the foundation of this new scheme.


Here is a summary of what our new bonus system will look like:

The new scheme will recognise good performance and achievements with in-year cash bonus payments.

  • The money available for bonuses will be divided between the areas of the business and units and teams, based on headcount.
  • The bonus amounts will be layered. The amounts are: £30, £50, £100, £200, £300 and £500.
  • Bonus awards can be made to individuals and teams. The bonus awards are not pensionable (unless you are a member of LGPS), and are subject to tax and national insurance in the usual way.
  • Everyone in the Agency can nominate an individual or a team for a bonus award.
  • Managers will authorise bonus payments that are up to and including £200 for individuals they line manage.
  • A unit head, business lead or nominated team leader will authorise larger individual bonus payments - those over £200, or multiple awards to the same person in the same year.
  • A unit head, business lead or nominated team leader will authorise a team bonus payment. The unit head, business lead or team leader authorising will be from the same business area or unit.
  • For team bonuses every eligible person in the team will get the same amount.
  • Before authorising a payment, line managers, unit heads, business leads or a nominated team leader will complete a simple form, outlining the individual or team details and reason for the bonus payment. This form will be automatically sent to HR for processing. This will ensure that the payments are timely and we have an audit trail.
  • People Group will provide 'light-touch' guidance to support individuals and line managers. The guidance will include general principles to follow for authorisation and some examples of good performance for bonus payments.
  • All bonus awards will be published centrally on the intranet to celebrate success.


The Former Recognition Voucher scheme ended on 31st July 2015. No more vouchers can be ordered after 31st July, although any vouchers you have already ordered, within the budget allocation, can be awarded to individuals after 31 July.



The Issue of Non-Cash Bonuses


Lots of people wanted non-cash recognition, for example flowers, vouchers for meals and so on. The VOA is looking into this and there may be a Civil Service-wide scheme that we can tap into but this won’t be ready for this year.


There were some ideas, submitted by a number of different teams, that we couldn't incorporate into the new scheme:


  • Adding the money available for bonus payments to annual salary increases. We can't do this because Civil Service pay rules means that we can’t use the bonus pot to add to annual salary. We have to use the money as bonuses or not at all.
  • Retaining the current system linking performance pay to end of year box markings. The Board decided not to continue with this system earlier this year, and we also know from feedback that lots of people did not find this system motivating or rewarding.
  • Introducing a raffle scheme, when individuals are nominated and someone is randomly selected to 'win' the payment. We haven't introduced a scheme like this because we want as many people in the Agency as possible to be recognised for good performance.


Though this looks good on paper, the RCTU would have some comments on this.


Some of this does not ring too clear: Would the Bigger the Team you are in you would get less of a Bonus? (If you're lucky to be even nominated).

Will there be transparency on the Grades that Cash payments are made and would this indicate the spread of payments to ensure they are fair and transparent?


With regards to Non-Cash Payments; would the bigger payments effects Tax Credits/Universal Credit Customers working for HMRC?


So there you have it the latest News on Bonus Payments in the VOA (Part of HMRC) brought to you by the Revenue & Customs Trade Union (RCTU) . Any view members have on this subject should be sent to with the title “VOA Bonus Scheme”.


Simon Collis

VOA Member of the RCTU

Aug 2015

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