Home Office ad complaint not upheld by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint made against a job ad placed by the Home Office for a criminal investigator immigration officer.

In its latest list of decisions, published this morning, the ASA revealed details about a complaint made by a civil servant about the ad seen in February 2017 on civilservicejob.service.gov.uk for a criminal investigator immigration officer in the Home Office’s Croydon location with a salary of between £26,866 and £30,896.

The complainant, who understood that the salary for the job was indefinitely fixed at the minimum amount quoted in the ad, challenged whether the claim “salary £26,866-£30,896” was misleading and could be substantiated.

In its response to the ASA, the Home Office explained that within the Home Office and most other Civil Service departments, advertised jobs are within a pay range and at a particular grade, adding that ‘criminal investigator immigration officer’ (CIIO) was a job title among many different executive officer (EO) jobs that paid within the Home Office EO pay band, as quoted in the ad (£26,866–£30,896). 

In its supporting evidence, the Home Office revealed that in total there were around 3,800 London-based EOs, and 2,154 of those were employed as operational immigration officers in a range of different roles, including CIIOs. It also provided data showing the salary range in each quartile of the pay band for all types of immigration officers it employed in London, which it believed demonstrated that their CIIOs were not just receiving the minimum salary that fell within the EO pay band.

The Home Office further explained that progression through pay ranges was subject to an annual pay award dependent on performance, affordability and public sector pay policy. It provided data showing that in 2016, staff in the EO grade – including CIIOs – received an increase of 0.8–1.1% depending on their position in the pay range, with those towards the bottom receiving the greater increase, as well as additional data showing that within the criminal investigation teams based in the London region, it employed 90 immigration officers, who received a salary that fell within the EO pay band.

Consequently, the ASA did not uphold the complaint, ruling that no further action was necessary, with the ASA concluding that candidates would interpret the text “Criminal Investigator Immigration Officer … – Croydon Home Office …” along with the claim “salary £26,866-£30,896” to mean that the advertised role was based in Croydon (London) and paid between £26,866 and £30,896, and would understand they could potentially earn up to £30,896 over a prolonged period of time if they started at a salary that was below that amount.

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