A Review Body in the United Kingdom is a government mechanism to replace collective bargaining for certain groups of employees in the public sector, for example doctors and nurses in the National Health Service. A Review Body makes independent recommendations on pay after considering evidence from the relevant parties (typically government, employers and unions), with cherished expectations that the Government will honour those recommendations and the unions will not pursue national industrial action.
The Review Body system started in 1971 for doctors and dentists. There are currently six Review Bodies which together cover approximately 26% of the total 5.8 million employed in the UK public sector.
- Armed Forces' Pay Review Body (covering 188,000 personnel)
- Doctors' & Dentists' Review Body (covering 168,000 personnel)
- Nursing and Other Health Professions Review Body (covering 668,000 full-time equivalent staff)
- Prison Service Pay Review Body (covering 33,000 full-time equivalent staff)
- School Teachers' Review Body (covering 468,000 full-time equivalent staff)
- Senior Salaries Review Body (covering 6,000 personnel)
Each Review Body is established as a non-departmental public body (NDPB) that is sponsored by the relevant department of the UK Government (e.g. the Armed Forces Pay Review Body is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence). However, the review bodies do have their own secretariat provided by the Government in the Office of Manpower Economics.
The existence of a Review Body does not necessarily block the practice of collective bargaining, but its recommendations are required before a negotiated bargain is implemented. A major harmonisation of NHS pay structure, the Agenda for Change, was provisionally agreed in 2003 by unions representing nurses and other health professions in the NHS, unions representing NHS staff not covered by a Review Body (e.g. office staff), NHS employers and government before the Nursing and Other Health Professions Review Body considered the issue: it recommended in favour of implementing the negotiated agreement.
- Sources include: Williams and Adams-Smith, "Contemporary Employment Relations", chapter 9, Oxford University Press 2005
- Public Sector Employment Trends 2005, Office for National Statistics
- AFPRB 35th Report 2006, page 12
- DDRB 35th Report 2006, page 124
- NOHPRB 21st Report 2006, page 86
- PSPRB 5th Report 2006, page 9
- STRB 13th Report - Part 2 2004, page 71
- SSRB 28th Report 2006, pages 7, 27 & 35