Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pips, Promotion & Pay.....

I was so excited when I finally got the call that I was to become a Temporary Inspector,   the hard work of studying for the Part 1 and Part 2 examinations had finally paid off! I ordered my new epaulets - the ones with the pips on! My new name badge and hat, eagerly awaiting their arrival from stores and opening them up like an excited child on Christmas day.

I was a temporary Inspector for over 12 months in two different Branches, first as the Hub manager for the OCB and then as part of the Capability Support Team in the External Relations & Performance Branch.

My temporary promotion came with a temporary pay rise, although I failed to take notice of the ‘temporary’ part of this! As the time passed I started to live within the means of my new salary and then came the dreaded phone call.......... I was being reverted back to the rank of Sergeant and into a new role.

After getting over the disappointment that this inevitably brings, I began to look forward to my new challenge and getting back on the front line of Response policing. I started as you tend to do, back on the night shift and soon realised I was going to have to adjust to my new Division and to working shifts again.

 I then had the realisation that I was going to have to adjust to a drop in pay, as I reverted to back my original pay scale, compounded with my new posting that was on the opposite side of the Force to where I lived which dramatically increased my travel costs.

Things were difficult at home as we tightened our belt and slowly but surely the adjustments were made, but not without a bit of pain.

I realised that officers and police staff subject to temporary promotions were not provided with any financial advice and as more and more positions become temporary until the structure of the Force is decided, this could affect more and more staff.

I wanted to warn others of the dangers and of the trap I fell into of becoming reliant on my temporary pay. I made contact with the Money Saving Expert himself, Martin Lewis, who kindly gave up his time to discuss the issue and provided the following advice for staff:

“I call pay rises forgotten gold, we often readjust our spending patterns pretty quickly once we’ve got them and start cutting our cloth accordingly.  If you’re given a temporary promotion and pay rise, treat it as an added bonus not core cash – or when you go back to your substantive rank it’ll hurt.  The primary use should of course be to overpay any debts if you’ve got them – which will have a long term knock on gain.”

If not (hurrah) one option to avoid osmosing the money into your day to day expenditure, better to put it to a specific purpose such as “a savings pot” a “new sofa” a “holiday” so you’re not adjusting your overall habits, but still see the gain.”

He then later wrote a blog on his website

As a result of my experience I decided that I would write some guidance for officers and staff who are currently or will be undertaking a temporary role, both nationally and within GMP. This guidance is now available and if anyone would like a copy then please feel free to contact me.

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