A Special meeting of the Bank's General Purposes Sub-Committee (present Messrs Lovsey; Simpson; Appleby; Gelling; Higgins; and Stephens) was held in the General Manager's office at the Council House on January 29th 1923. The minutes of that meeting state that:
General Manager submitted the following suggested Grading Scheme for the Bank staff, together with Memorandum, Summary and comparative
figures of other Savings Banks.
Grade H - Youths up to 21 years of age
These are selected by the General Manager from a waiting list, and are taken into the Bank's service on the basis of their school reports for the last two or three years' schooling, irrespective of whether the youth has attended an Elementary School, a Secondary School, a Grammar School, High School, or a private school.
The conditions of service require that all youths shall attend, until 21 years of age, such evening classes during the winter session as the General Manager and Chief Education Officer select. Periodical reports are furnished by the Education Department, which show what progress the youth is making. Provided satisfactory attendance is given throughout the session, the Bank pay the class fees. Three small monetary prizes are also awarded at the end of the year for the three best results.
Each youth passes through four stages in the service of the Bank, viz, one year at a small Daily Branch, one year at a large Daily Branch, one year on the service side at Head Office, and one year in the Administrative Department at Head Office. The Senior Officer under whom the youths work furnishes a report to the General Manager on the service and conduct of the youth, and if it is found that the youth is not showing signs of developing into a capable Bank Clerk he is dismissed. There is no question of retaining a youth until any particular age is reached before deciding whether he is to be retained. If he does not come up to the requirements he is dismissed when such stage is reached. No youth is regarded as on the permanent staff - in fact, no such permanent appointment is made until the youth has satisfied the tests imposed in Grade G.
It is proposed that the scale of pay for youths in the Bank's service should be fixed at a slightly higher rate, say £5 per annum, than the General Corporation scale, for the following reasons:-
(a) The conditions of service are such that work must be continuous, and meals taken on the premises as opportunity offers. In other Departments youths are generally allowed an hour for dinner.
(b) The business of the Bank necessitates working on every Saturday and Monday evening. This seriously handicaps a youth from obtaining equivalent social enjoyment to that which youths in other Departments enjoy.
(c) Extra expense is incurred by youths in the Bank in the way of tram or train fares, in having to return on Saturdays and Mondays for evening duty.
Grade G - On attaining the age of 21 years
On a youth attaining the age of 21 years, he serves for one year under the immediate control of the Assistant General Manager, who at the end of twelve months puts the youth through a general test as to his knowledge of the business of the Bank. The result of this test, together with an examination of all the reports on the youth during his service with the Bank, finally determines whether he is to be placed on the permanent staff or not. So far only one youth has been accepted; two have been dispensed with; and one has yet to pass certain educational examinations before being so placed.
It is proposed that the rate of pay for this grade should be £85 per annum.
Grade F - General Clerks, Permanent Staff
The present scale for these men is £92 rising by £20 to £192 per annum.
It is proposed that this scale should be brought to round figures, viz:-
Minimum £100 per annum.
Maximum £200 " "
Grade E - Cashiers at Head Office
Officers for this grade would be selected from Grade F, ability being the only test. The responsibilities call for higher payment for the services of these officers. The present scale (£150 rising by £20 to £250 per annum) was fixed having this point in view, and is satisfactory. It is therefore proposed that this scale should be:-
Minimum £150 per annum.
Maximum £250 " "
Grade D - Clerks in Charge of Daily Branches and Relief Branch Managers
It is realised that a new grade is called for to cover this class of officer, who having responsibilities above those of a Head Office Cashier, and who cannot be accepted straight away as permanent Branch Managers. Promotions from this Grade to Grade C (Branch Managers) should not be made unless the officer has justified, by quality of service, such promotion.
The proposed remuneration for this grade is:-
Minimum £175 per annum.
Maximum £275 " "
Grade C - Branch Managers
There is one grade for Branch Managers at present, but it has always been appreciated that the time would come when suitable divisions must be made according to proved ability. After 3½ years' experience of the present officers such division can now be made. The suggestion of grading according to the size of a Branch cannot be introduced with fairness to the officers, and the principle should now be accepted that this division of grading must be upon proved ability. No other influence, such as length of service, size of the Branch, etc, should be allowed to weigh. In the interests of the Bank the officers should be used in the positions for which they are best suited. Four divisions of this grade are suggested as being appropriate. Promotions to this grade would be made from Grade D.
Under the scheme for giving these officers three months' training, the General Manager is in a position to place the officers into appropriate divisions, but it is not proposed to place any officer in Grade C (1) at the present time.
The present rates of pay are below a reasonable standard for the position, and they vary from £172 per annum up to £302 per annum. It is therefore proposed that the rates for the new divisions in this grade should be as follows:-
Division 4 £200 per annum £300 per annum
" 3 £225 " " £325 " "
" 2 £250 " " £350 " "
" 1 £300 " " £400 " "
Grade E - Superintendent of Branches
At present there is one Superintendent, but with the large number of Branches and the increasing business of the Bank it is impossible to maintain satisfactory supervision with only one such officer.
Previous to the appointment of a Superintendent there were two inspectors covering the whole area, their work being divided into separate districts. These men did not possess any authority over Branch Managers, and therefore could only see that instructions were carried out or corrections made after reporting the matters to the Assistant General Manager or General Manager. The drawbacks to dealing with trifling corrections and improvements by this method were appreciated last year in deciding to have a Superintendent. At that time it was hoped that Mr Hawkins might recover in health sufficiently to be again employed in the service of the Bank, and the work of a superintendent was thought to be suitable for him. There is, however, no likelihood of Mr Hawkins returning for some time, if at all.
It is therefore proposed to increase the Superintendents to two, to divide the work into districts, and to fix the remuneration at:-
Minimum £350 per annum.
Maximum £450 " "
Grade A - Chief Clerks
There are two Chief Clerks who are responsible for the general administration of the Bank in their separate departments, ie, the Savings Bank Department and the House Purchase Department. In addition these officers are required to exercise a joint control and take joint responsibility in respect of the safe-custody of securities and cash, and the security of Head Office premises. They must, as management officers, adapt themselves to the necessities of the work of the Bank, and work longer hours than other officers. These officers, under the new cash scheme, are again brought into joint responsibility with the General Manager and Assistant General Manager.
No scale was laid down for this grade last year, as the General Manager was desirous of having further experience of the working arrangements and of the two officers concerned. The arrangements are quite satisfactory, and the quality of service rendered by the present two Chief Clerks has been such that the General Manager has no hesitation in now advising that the remuneration should be fixed. These two officers are the most experienced and able of the staff.
It is therefore proposed that the rate of remuneration for this grade should be fixed at:-
Minimum £400 per annum.
Maximum £500 " "
The grading and rates of pay in force at present are totally inadequate for the services demanded of female clerks. In most of the cases, apart from their ordinary clerical duties, they must take a joint responsibility with the Branch Manager in respect of the cash. The present grades are as follows:-
Ex Grade (Chief Cashier at Head Office) - The rate in April 1923 will be £150 per annum.
Grade A - £78 to £91 per annum
Grade B - £65 to £78 " "
Juniors on Corporation Scale.
The Chief Cashier is the only officer Ex Grade, and this is a special appointment applicable only to the present holder of the office. When the present holder ceases service with the Bank, the position will be filled by a male officer.
It is proposed to set up three grades as follows:-
Grade A - Restricted to sub-heads, who have responsibilities over and above ordinary clerical duties. - Rate of remuneration:-
Minimum £100 per annum.
Maximum £150 " "
Grade B - General clerical duties after proved service and efficiency. - Rate of remuneration:-
Minimum £92. 10, -d. per annum.
Maximum £130. -. -d. " "
Grade C - General clerical duties. - Rate of remuneration:-
Minimum £85 per annum.
Maximum £110 " "
£5 higher than present Corporation scale.
January 19th, 1923.
Memorandum by General Manager on the Grading of the Staff
There is in force a partial grading scheme covering youths, female clerks, general clerks, cashiers, and Branch Managers; but the growth of the Bank and the experience which the various officers have now gained call for a more complete and scientific grading.
The General Manager has devoted much thought to this subject, and now submits a scheme (sent herewith) which, in his judgement, meets the position. A summary of the proposals is also sent, and this summary contains information supplied by other Savings Banks which enables comparisons to be made. In the scheme the General Manager has thought it well to include Selly Oak, Hockley, and Stirchley as Daily Branches as by the end of March it is anticipated that such Branches will be opened daily.
All the figures given relate to basic rates, it being understood that the Salaries, Wages, & Labour Committee are not prepared at present to adopt inclusive rates for the Corporation service.
It will be seen that in many respects the remuneration paid to the Bank staff at present falls below a reasonable standard for the positions held: particularly is this so in the higher grades such as Branch Managers, Superintendents, and Chief Clerks. In the case of female clerks the low rates are proving unattractive; recent offers of employment have been turned down by applicants as soon as they have realised the conditions of service. The present female staff is of a high standard, and they have loyally stuck to the Bank in the hope that their financial position would be eased.
The main feature of the scheme is that a "ladder" is provided whereby a boy can rise from the lowest to the highest position by proved service, and that mere length of service will not hold him back; Again, as far as it is possible to do so, the General Manager has sought to avoid the creation of "dead end" positions. Nothing has given greater dissatisfaction in the past than these "dead ends". Equally, an endeavour has been made to avoid having a partially employed staff, and to lean towards under-staffing rather than over-staffing. The inclination to engage temporary clerks to meet periods of pressure is one which should be discouraged, and it is hoped that the Committee will maintain a stand against the pressing into the Bank's service of temporary clerks. When periods of pressure occur it is the practice to meet that pressure by temporarily suspending the ordinary routine of the Administration, even to the extent of bringing shorthand-typists into the general service of the Bank. For this purpose they are specially coached so that they can act as reliefs when needed. This temporary dislocation in the routine does not impair the efficiency of the Bank.
It is believed that the question of a fixed establishment is occupying the Salaries, Wages, & Labour Committee; but a fixed establishment is not appropriate to a growing institution.
The question of whether the practice of granting definite yearly increments subject to satisfactory service and conduct is desirable, or whether the fixing of minimum and maximum rates for a grade is preferable, has been considered, and the General Manager has come to the conclusion that the preferable course is to fix minimum and maximum rates, and to leave the Committee free within those rates to grant increases. Most of the present staff are entitled by their agreements to annual increments of £20, and while those agreements could of course be determined and fresh ones entered into, the General Manager does not recommend such a course. Present officers should be allowed to retain their existing privilege to the end of their present agreement, and new officers should only be engaged at the minimum rate and on the understanding that by meritorious service they can reach a certain maximum.
During the past year the position of the staff financially has been seriously affected by the drops in the bonus, due to the basic salaries being fixed too low in 1920, and it is found that the men are £75 worse off than they were twelve months ago.
To bring the scheme into operation at the 1st April next as it stands would mean larger increases in certain cases than the General Manager considers desirable; and he suggests that in these cases the result should be reached by spreading the increase over a few years. If the Committee share this view, it is suggested that this part of the scheme may be left to the Chairman and the General Manager.
January 19th, 1923.